IAfrica News Kenya Focus 

November 16 - 22, 2012


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Wildlife Service arrest 46 poachers
and recover ivory and ammunition

Poachers target especially rhinos and elephants
for their tusks and skins, which fetch a lot of money
in the black market particularly in Asia

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s wildlife authorities said they have seized 48 kilograms of ivory and 764 rounds of ammunition in the past week of anti-poaching operations as the East African nations is to curb the vice.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Monday that 46 suspected poachers have also been nabbed across the country.

"In Isiolo County (eastern Kenya) a suspect was arrested near Loseketeti River and 764 rounds of ammunition recovered a motorbike he was using to ferry the cache was impounded," KWS said.

The East African nation is among countries in Africa where poaching is rampant despite the vice having been outlawed in the country in 1977.

Poachers target especially rhinos and elephants for their tusks and skins, which fetch a lot of money in the black market particularly in Asia.

Kenya is a popular destination especially for tourists from Europe.

The country is known for its great variety of wildlife, which includes elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, lions, cheetah and leopards.

These animals are protected in national parks.

KWS said 12 kilograms of ivory were recovered and a lorry impounded on Nov. 6 and two suspects believed to have been transporting the ivory escaped arrest during the incidence.

The agency has launched investigations are underway to arrest them.

"Elsewhere in Kanjire village, Taita Taveta County, four suspects were arrested and 26 kilograms of ivory and assorted poaching weapons recovered.

"A vehicle was also impounded during the arrest," KWS said.

In Narok County at Malelo village, three suspects were arrested and 10 kilograms of ivory recovered on Nov. 7.

The conservation group, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), recently raised concerns that the East African countries are gaining a damaging reputation being a clearing house for the illegal ivory trade.

IFAW Regional Director Eastern Africa James Isiche said law enforcement authorities have to stamp out poaching and work with other African elephant range states to seal off ivory trafficking routes

"In the past five years, elephant poaching in Kenya and other African countries has risen to unprecedented levels while the trend of ivory seizures globally in the last two years has been ominous," Isiche said in a statement on Saturday.

Meanwhile, two suspected trophy dealers found in possession of two rhino horns are in police custody after failing to pay 118,000 U.S. dollars bond at a Nairobi court on Nov. 13.

The two, Masila Sengu and Abdirahman Oda, were arrested by KWS officials on Nov 12 in Eastleigh area in Nairobi County and were jointly charged on three counts of being in illegal possession of a government trophy, dealing and failing to make a report to authorities.

The trophies weighing three kilograms have an estimated street value of 177,000 dollars.

The suspects denied the charges and were to be released on a bond of 118,000 dollars each with surety of similar amount.

However, they have remained in police custody as they failed to raise the bond value.

The hearing is set for Feb. 26, 2013.


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