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Nairobi airport officials probed over rhino horns seized in Vietnam

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- More than 10 senior officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport JKIA were grilled over the seizure of rhino horns worth over 700,000 dollars in Vietnam as Interpol joined in the probe on Tuesday.

They include senior managers working for Kenya Airport KAA accused of colluding in the smuggling ring of 119 kilograms of rhino horn stashed in two suitcases.

Detectives from Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCIO) are investigating how the horns were sneaked from Malawi to Nairobi en route to Vietnam via National Carrier Kenya Airways.

The detectives are now probing how the haul managed to pass through the busy airport undetected.

JKIA police station DCIO Julius Mbati is the lead investigator in the latest seizure believed to be involving kingpin involved in elephant and rhino poaching in the Africa.

Mbati is leading a multi-agency team investigating the seizure in analyzing CCTV footage that captures crew members removing tag from the two suitcases and concealing the suitcases.

The multi-agency team will hand over report to the Director of CID Ndegwa Muhoro and inspector General of police Joseph with possible prosecution of the main suspects once investigations are complete.

"The investigation is complex and the government has sought assistance from different agencies including the Interpol to assist in the cross border investigation to unearth the syndicate." He added.

The haul was impounded at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport last week Tuesday after they were found hidden in luggage on a flight from Nairobi.

The two suitcases were found to contain 57 kilograms and 62 kilograms of Rhino horns, respectively during the scanning by custom officials at Vietnam airport.

Vietnam is a lucrative market for rhino horns, believed to have medicinal properties as conservationists warn that rhino population has dwindled due to ready market in Asia.

In 2016, Vietnam customs officials seized nearly one tonne of ivory hidden in a timber shipment from Kenya that had originated from port of Mombasa.
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SEE ALSO:

From Nairobi haul of smuggled rhino horn held at Hanoi Airport

             

 

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