NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – The family of a man killed alongside a police officer in Nyeri County for alleged involvement in poaching at Solio Ranch is seeking justice claiming their relative was killed elsewhere and his body dumped at the scene.
The family of 48-year-old William Gichohi Kariuki defended him saying that he had never been involved in poaching.
Geoffrey Macharia Kariuki, a brother to the deceased, demanded thorough investigations into the killings saying an autopsy report revealed that the deceased was killed at close range, disproving claims of a shootout between him and security personnel.
“The post-mortem showed that Gichohi was shot up close meaning that the people involved knew very well what they were doing and they were specific to kill him.”
“Were it true that he was actually a poacher, then the gunshot wound would have been different,” he argued.
Speaking to the press in Nyahururu town Kariuki said: “Solio Ranch has become a death bed for many people on allegations of poaching and it is a high time that the government intervened and stop the killings.”
The government has intensified the fight against poachers after alarm was raised that more animals were being killed by criminals for their horns, ivory or skin.
A Chinese man who pleaded guilty Monday in a Kenyan court to trafficking ivory became the first person to be convicted under tough new wildlife laws designed to stem a surge of poaching.
Tang Yong Jian, 40, pleaded guilty to charges of illegal possession and dealing in ivory, after he was arrested last week while on transit from Mozambique to China via Nairobi.
The Cabinet last year adopted tough measures aimed at protecting the country’s wildlife and ordered a crash programme to increase Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers by 1,000 in addition to the establishment of an interagency security team to intensify surveillance in wildlife zones.
The Cabinet had also called for the sacking of any KWS officers found to be conniving with poachers.
Kenya has been hit by a wave of poaching incidents with last year’s statistics from the KWS indicating that more 50 elephants have been lost.
Arrests made included that of 32 senior KWS officials for suspicion of abetting poaching. Several foreigners have also been arrested of attempting to smuggle rhino horns and elephant tusks through the airport.