Security officers in the northwestern Kenya town of Kitale on Thursday arrested a poacher in possession of 14 kilograms of elephant tusks with a market value of 1.4 million shillings (US$14,000).
Local police commander Ayub Gitonga said the suspected poacher had been on the radar of security agencies amid a spike in poaching of iconic animals in northern Kenya counties. “We set a trap after we received intelligence reports that the suspect was in possession of the consignment and was looking for a market,” said Gitonga. He said that poachers have taken advantage of the heavy rains in northern Kenya to sneak into wildlife sanctuaries and kill elephants and other giant land mammals.
“We are working on intelligence information to stamp out the menace and protect wildlife and we urge the public to collaborate with security agents to bring to book those engaged in illegal activities in our national parks,” said Gitonga. He said police have launched a manhunt for six poachers on the run in the expansive plains dotting Kenya’s northwestern region.
Meanwhile, Kenyan security forces said Thursday they have rescued 16 foreigners after busting a human trafficking ring along the Marsabit-Isiolo highway in northern Kenya.
The officers from the multi-agency special operations team said six suspects who were ferrying the foreigners aboard three vehicles were arrested during an early Wednesday operation. “The minors were being transported in three motor vehicles along the Marsabit-Isiolo highway heading towards Isiolo general direction at Ngaremara area,” the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said in a police report.
According to the DCI, illegal immigrants had no relevant documents in their possession. “All the arrested aliens are of Ethiopian origin and are to be charged for the offense of being unlawfully present in Kenya while the Kenyan drivers are to be charged with the offense of human smuggling,” said the DCI.
The DCI said the suspects will be arraigned in court to answer to charges of human trafficking.