Kenya: Tanzanians nabbed with elephant tusks worth Sh500,000 in Kisumu 

Dec 28, 2022 | News

By Cyrus Umbati, The Star

Three suspects, among them two Tanzanians, were arrested by police in Kisumu after they were found in possession of elephant tusks valued at over Sh500,000.

Police said 52-year-old Wilson Korio was arrested together with Tanzanians Jakaya Mchubo Paswa (42), and Lemintiye Mbukoti (27), after they were found with eight pieces of elephant tusks weighing 16 kilograms. 

The arrest came after detectives in Kisumu received a tip-off from an informant, and then liaised with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel to make the bust.

They headed to Mamboleo where the arrest of the three was effected. A fourth suspect who is said to have attempted to rescue his accomplices was shot in the arms in the process before he sped off on a motorbike.

Meanwhile, the three will remain in custody pending arraignment on Wednesday, December 28, 2022. Police said they are investigating the source of the tusks.

Despite a ban on the international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers. As part of efforts to stop the crime, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment including drones to track poaching gangs and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.

Kenya Wildlife Service working with stakeholders has put in place mechanisms to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, particularly poaching. These mechanisms include enhanced community education, interagency collaboration, and intensive intelligence-led operations among others.

These efforts have led to zero rhino poaching in Kenya in the year 2020; the first time in about two decades. At least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory.

This translates into 55 elephants killed daily or one elephant killed every 26 minutes with a population of 35,000 elephants.

On April 30, 2016, Kenya set ablaze 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn to smouldering ash.
President Uhuru Kenyatta led world leaders and conservationists in burning the remains of 6,500 elephants and 450 rhinos killed for their tusks and horns.

Parliament has also passed strict anti-poaching laws and the government has beefed up security at parks to stop poaching, which threatens the vital tourism industry.

Regionally, Kenya has also emerged as a major transit route for ivory destined for Asian markets from eastern and central Africa.

The illegal ivory trade is mostly fueled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.

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