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Smugglers arrested with live snakes

NAIROBI, August 21 – Police have arrested two suspects, one African and one European, for attempting to illegally export 113 live snakes from Mombasa to Japan.

The consignment was intercepted by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) intelligence officials at midday Wednesday, as it was to be smuggled through the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

KWS Corporate Communications Manager Paul Udoto said in a statement on Thursday that the luggage was to be flown to Japan at 1pm.

“An agent sent to drop the consignment was arrested before he could load the caged snakes onto the Japan-bound plane,” read Udoto’s statement.

“The suspect told investigators that the consignment belonged to a director of a reptile farm in Ukunda, Kwale District,” Udoto narrated.

The agent led investigators to the Ukunda residence of the director – who is of European origin – and he was arrested at about midnight.

Both suspects were being interrogated on Thursday by KWS officers and police from the Mombasa Central Police Station.

According to KWS records, the Kwale farm has a temporary licence for operation, but has no permit to export live animals. 

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Earlier on Wednesday, another consignment comprising 338 snakes is suspected to have been illegally flown from the coastal town to Frankfurt, Germany.

Udoto said that the regional Lusaka Agreement Task Force and Interpol have been alerted about the illegal export and are following up.

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