Roundup: Kenya seizes ivory worth 120,000 USD in coastal region


Joy Nabukewa, Xinhua

Date Published

Mombasa: Kenyan authorities on Monday seized ivory worth over 120,000 U.S. dollars in the coastal county of Kilifi.

A team of detectives from Directorate of Criminal Investigation (CID) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) acting on intelligence reports arrested three suspects with the consignment hidden in a house within Mariakani town.

Mariakani police boss Ramson Lolmodoni said the suspects will be arraigned in court and charged for trafficking 70 kilograms of elephant tusks.

“We managed to arrest three suspects and recovered three big elephant tusks in stashed sacks. They are being interrogated by officers to assist in the investigation,” said Loimodoni.

He said the suspects are believed to be linked to local ivory traffickers in the country. Police suspect the three intended to smuggle the ivory for international market where the demand for ivory is high.

He said the police have intensified war on poaching at main national parks where several poachers have been killed and assorted weapons recovered recently.

Senior KWS lead investigator says DNA analysis will be conducted to determine the origin of the ivory.

“We suspect the ivory was packaged and transported to the country from the bordering countries. We will carry out a DNA analysis to determine which population of elephant it belongs to,” the KWS officer said.

In a bid to stop the trade, he said KWS in partnership with other key stakeholders has set up all-round surveillance at all entry points.

The government continues to enhance its fight against poaching which has threatened both elephant and rhino’s population in the country.

In 2016, Kenya set ablaze more than 100 tonnes of ivory in a move aimed at showing its commitment to saving Africa’s population of elephants.

A joint team comprising Kenya and Uganda security agents, customs officials have conducted several arrests of high profile individuals involved in the latest seizure of ivory in the country.

Senior Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority officers were also arrested over ivory smuggling through the port of Mombasa.

President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed concern about cargo theft and trafficking of drugs, wildlife and other contraband where senior officials collude with clearing agents.