MOMBASA, Kenya, Jun 5 – Detectives on Monday seized an ivory haul worth over Sh12 million in Mariakani area of Kilifi County.
A team of detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Kenya Wildlife Service acting on intelligence reports arrested three suspects with the consignment hidden in a house.
Mariakani Police Chief Ramson Lolmodoni said the suspects are believed to be linked to local ivory traffickers.
Police suspect the three intended to smuggle the ivory into the international market where the demand for ivory is high.
The ivory is suspected to have been hacked from Savannah elephants, known to have exceptionally long tusks that reach almost to the ground.
A senior KWS lead investigator says DNA analysis will be conducted to determine the origin of the ivory.
“Our officers raided the house following shared intelligence from locals and they managed to seize six tusks weighing 71 kilograms,” the police boss stated.
The government continues to enhance its fight against poaching which has threatened both elephant and rhino populations in the country.
In 2016, Kenya set ablaze more than 100 tonnes of ivory in a move aimed at showing its commitment to saving Africa’s population of elephants.
Other than a source, Kenya is largely used as a transit hub for the ivory and other animal products by a gang which part of the transnational crime.
On October 27, last year, Vietnamese customs officials seized nearly one tonne of ivory hidden in a timber shipment from Kenya.
That was the third major illegal haul of precious tusks in less than a month from the country.
On April 27, 2015, more than three tonnes of elephant ivory were found at a Thai port stashed in a container shipped from Kenya.
In the same year, some 511 pieces of ivory, weighing over three tonnes, were found on April 25 in a container “marked as tea leaves transported from Mombasa, Kenya, and on to Laos” in Thai.