The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) has identified one of the suspects captured on camera butchering an elephant at Imenti Forest in Meru County, in a video that went viral last month.
The KWS Assistant Director (AD) in charge of Eastern Conservation Area, Michael Wanjau speaking in Nanyuki said that Kenneth Mbaabu Muthaura was positively identified from clips of the shocking video that circulated widely on social media platforms on November 19 this year.
The suspect was arrested together with three others but the two were let off the hook for lack of evidence linking them to the incident.
“We managed to trace him to his home in Meru where he was positively identified by local elders and relatives as one of the persons who were seen in the video killing the elephant, hence we arrested him,” Wanjau said.
The KWS AD further revealed that 10 other suspects also identified in the video were being sought for the same offence and would soon be arrested to face charges of killing the animal.
Wanjau added that investigations revealed that the incident took place on June 21, 2018 when a report was made of an elephant that had been killed by villagers in Imenti forest.
“Our officers responded to the call by area chief and managed to recover tusks from the dead animal that had been hacked to death with axes and machetes and some of its flesh shared out among the villagers,” he added.
He further said that the KWS officers took bone samples from the dead animal that would be used to conduct DNA forensic matching with the tusks to be presented as evidence in court.
Mbaabu was later on Monday arraigned in a Nanyuki court and was charged with killing an elephant without lawful authority.
He denied the charges before the Resident Magistrate, Vincent Masivo that on June 21, 2018, together with others not before the court willfully killed an elephant without authority and was released on a Sh.300,000 bond. The case will be mentioned in January 2020.
By Martin Munyi