Police in Maralal town are holding three men after they were caught with four elephant tusks weighing 13 kilogrammes with an estimate worth of Sh 1.7 million.
Samburu Central Police Commandant, Sylvester Rotich, said the trio were nabbed along the Barsaloi-Maralal road with the contraband goods on transit after a combined team of regular police and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers, working on a tip-off waylaid the suspects.
“We acted on the information by laying a multi-agency ambush along the Barsaloi-Maralal road where we intercepted a personal vehicle and upon inspection we found the ivory with the suspects inside,” Rotich.
The Police Boss added that the tusks were cut into small pieces for easy concealment and transportation, adding that they are interrogating the suspects to find out where they were taking the tusks before they are arraigned in Court.
The Barsaloi-Maralal road is notorious in cases of trafficking of illegal items such as bhang, sandalwood and ivory as several cases have been reported in the past.
However, Rotich said the police will continue to be vigilant, noting that the arrest is a breakthrough in the fight against trafficking of illegal goods in the area.
“We must protect our animals for the future generations. Elephants are an endangered species and it is our duty to protect them and I call on the public to report unscrupulous individuals within the society out to decimate our heritage,” he said.
Upon examination of the tusks, KWS said they might have been extracted from two elephants.
KWS added that they are working with stakeholders to put in place mechanisms, including enhanced community education and interagency collaboration to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, particularly poaching.
By Robert Githu