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Chinese arrested with 3kg ivory at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

By C Ombati
Updated Sun, January 19th 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3

By CYRUS OMBATI

NAIROBI, KENYA: A Chinese national was Saturday arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after being found with 3.4 kilograms of ivory.

The 40-year-old man was found with the lower ivory while from Napula, Mozambique to Guangzhou, China. His plane had touched down at JKIA and was to connect when he was seized.

Police said the ivory was in his luggage and had been packaged in disguise as cups.

Airport CID boss Joseph Ngisa said the arrest was made on Saturday evening and that the man will appear in court today to face charges of being in possession of the ivory.

“We are seeing an increase of these suspects originating Mozambique with the ivory but we are keen to stop the practice,” said Ngisa.

His arrest came two days after another Chinese national was arrested with ivory, leopards' skin and multiple passports. He is believed to be behind a number of cases of smuggling of people and ivory in the country, police said.

The 41-year-old suspect was arrested at an apartment Thursday with goods valued at millions of shillings in the posh Riverside estate, Nairobi.

This comes even as Kenya and Chinese government are collaborating to fight poaching and illegal trade of wildlife.

The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

East African nations have recently recorded an increase in poaching incidents.

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

Africa is home to an estimated 472,000 elephants, whose survival is threatened by poaching and the illegal trade in game trophies, as well as a rising human population that is causing habitat loss.

To demonstrate the seriousness and commitment to end the menace, China recently crushed six tones of the ivory.

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