NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – Intelligence by the police shows that proceeds from poaching are being used to finance to terrorism and activities of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).
According to the Interior Ministry, the latest consignment seized was meant to finance and facilitate criminal activities.
“Intelligence gathered so far confirms a growing nexus between poaching and financing of crime including terrorism. In this case, we believe that this haul was meant to facilitate the activities of MRC,” Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said in a statement.
Three key suspects were on Thursday arrested after they were linked to the recent interception and seizure of a consignment of ivory in Thailand, alleged to have been exported from the Port of Mombasa.
Nkaissery stated that they will be taken through due process and information gathered from them will be use to apprehend their accomplices.
“We are particularly focused on transnational crimes such as poaching, counterfeit or trafficking of drugs and human beings. We shall also not spare those who may be using our country as a transit or destination point for these crimes,” he stated.
Eight other suspects are also being detained to help with the ongoing investigations into the seized ivory.
“I thank the members of the public who continue to play a significant role of offering information that supplements intelligence gathered. I also applaud our security officers some of whom rejected attempts to corrupt them. Their concerted effort is crucial for the fight against this menace,” Nkaissery stated.
He further emphasized that he has directed the Inspector General of Police to step up the war on criminal activities and to take all measures to secure the country.
“I also urge for continued collaboration with all the agencies in the crackdown on this menace,” the Interior Secretary indicated in his statement.
More than three tonnes of elephant ivory were found at a Thai port stashed in a container shipped from Kenya.
The discovery, which would be worth millions of dollars on the black market, was destined for Laos where the illegal ivory trade flourishes.
Some 511 pieces of ivory, weighing over three tonnes, was found in a container marked as tea leaves transported from Mombasa, Kenya, and on to Laos.
Scores of whole tusks some nearly two metres long were among the pieces seized.
A record four tonnes of African elephant ivory was seized at Bangkok’s main port on April 20, in a container that arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo and was also destined for Laos.
Once in neighbouring Laos, authorities believe the ivory would likely be sold on to buyers from China, Vietnam or back into Thailand, countries where ivory ornaments are coveted despite fears the trade is pushing wild elephants to extinction.