3 police officers arrested with Sh2.9m elephant tusks

The suspects are said to have drawn their pistols during their arrest but were subdued.

In Summary
  • Kingela police boss Patrick Manyasi confirmed the incident. 
  • Manyasi said the suspects were on the Kenya Wildlife Services officers' radar who aided their arrest.
Five elephant tusks the three officers were arrested with.
Five elephant tusks the three officers were arrested with.
Image: HANDOUT

Three police officers and a civilian were on Saturday arrested in Kitangela, Kajiado after they were reportedly found in possession of five elephant tusks, two pistols and 30 bullets.

The five tusks are said to weigh 29 kilograms, all worth Sh2.9 million.

Kingela police boss Patrick Manyasi confirmed the incident. 

Manyasi said the suspects were on the Kenya Wildlife Services officers' radar who aided their arrest.

The suspects were trailed from Eldoret to Nairobi, and later to Kitengela where the arrest took place.

The four were arrested by officers attached to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) at a roadblock in Kitengela, officials said.

The suspects are said to have drawn their pistols during their arrest but were subdued.

One of them is a police constable attached to Judiciary Milimani as a driver, and another is attached to a senior politician from Eldoret.

The suspects were taken to Kitengela Police Station before being transferred to KSW holding in Lang'ata, Nairobi, police said.

Police said the suspect will be charged with the offence of being in Possession of Wildlife Trophies of Endangered Species Contrary to Section 92(4) of the Wildlife Conservation Management Act 2013.

Officials said the seizure shows up to two elephants had been killed and there is a likelihood the incidents happened in the nearby parks.

Last week, three suspected poachers were arrested and eight pieces of elephant tusks valued at Sh2 million were recovered from their car in Kibwezi, Makueni County.

The three were in a car along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway in the Thenge area when police officers intercepted it.

The tusks weighed about 20 kilos, police and Kenya Wildlife Service officials said of the June 4 incident.

The tusks were detained at the KWS Chyuklu Hills National Park office.

Elephant tusks fetch a fortune in the black market as a surge in demand for ivory in the East continues to fuel the illicit trade in elephant tusks, especially from Africa.

Officials say despite a ban on the international ivory trade, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers.

As part of efforts to stop the menace, Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment, including drones, to track poachers and keep tabs on elephants and rhinos.

KWS and stakeholders have 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 led to zero rhino poaching in Kenya in 2020-the first time in about two decades.

At least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory.

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

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 fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhino horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.


WATCH: The latest videos from the Star