Security agents from Isiolo County have seized 11 elephant tusks which were being transported by a Toyota Probox van along Isiolo – Marsabit highway.
The multi-agency security men had mounted an ambush along the highway Tuesday night but the occupants of the van abandoned the motor vehicle and fled into the thicket a few meters from the road block
The night incident led to recovery of the tusks that weigh 172.4 kilogrammes and whose street value could be Sh1.7 million.
Isiolo County Commissioner Herman Shambi lauded the security officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Northern Range Trust (NRT) and the surrounding Conservancies for their determination to fight poaching in the neighbouring Samburu, Laikipia and Isiolo counties.
Speaking while displaying the tusks outside his office today, Mr Shambi said the officers were tracking down those behind the smuggling of the ivories adding that the Probox van was impounded as the investigation was underway.
He said it was suspected that the ivories were being transported to illegal dealers who could be hiding in Isiolo town since the vehicle was headed in that direction.
“The ivories are old and could have been hidden somewhere for a long time before being transported because the security intelligence was rife and the trade links restricted,” the CC added.
Mr Shambi asked wananchi to be vigilant and give information about the illegal poaching, so that the government could eradicate the vice in the area and protect the animals, especially the common big five wild animals that had been drawing tourism in the region.
He said that the government has the machinery to deal with illegal activities like poaching and cattle rustling in the region and warned the culprits that they would not be spared
Isiolo KWS Senior Warden Peter Mbote said that war against poaching is collaborative among security agents and would go on till the problem that affects the county and the neighbours is wiped out completely.
“We will ensure that all outlets of game trophies are combed and make it extremely difficult for the smugglers to carry out their illegal businesses,” Mr Mbote said.
He added that the vehicle that was impounded while transporting the ivories is held at the police station and cannot be released since the investigation is continuing.
By David Nduro