Security officers in Busia County in conjunction with Kenya Wildlife Service officers have arrested two suspects at Korinda area and recovered 26kgs of elephant tusk worth Sh9.1million from them.
Speaking to the press in his office, Busia deputy sub county police commander Stephen Kimunya said the two culprits, (a Kenyan and a Ugandan) had sneaked the ivory from Uganda in search of a market in Kenya.
He said the police were tipped off by a member of the public and pounced on the two as they tried to escape on a motorbike.
KWS officers and other security organs have mounted intense investigation into the matter.
“Police and KWS officers are working with other stakeholders to put in place mechanisms including enhanced community education, interagency collaboration and intensive intelligence led operations to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, particularly poaching,” said Kimunya.
According to KWS, at least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory. This translates to 55 elephants killed daily or an elephant being felled every 26 minutes.
Despite a ban on international trade in ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers.
“The porosity of the Kenya-Uganda border is also an open avenue for wildlife products trafficking,” he added.
Kimunya promised to continue the legacy started by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016 when he led world leaders and conservationists in burning the horns and tusks of 6,500 elephants and 450 rhinos killed for their valued products.
“We are working day and night to seal all the loopholes of this kind of wildlife products trade. For us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants,” noted Kimunya.
The two are expected to be arraigned in court pending police investigations.