Army officers arrested over poaching

By Antony Gitonga                           

Naivasha, Kenya: Five Kenya army officers were on Monday arrested in Kongoni, Naivasha following the killing of a rhino in Oserian sanctuary by poachers.

The officers based at Lanet army barracks in Nakuru gave contradicting stories on their presence next to the sanctuary a few hours after the killing.

After hours of interrogation, the five were set free despite a tracker dog picking out one of the suspects on several occasions.

A senior police officer said the five were still suspects and could be recalled if there was enough evidence found incriminating them.

Trouble started after poachers killed the rhino and removed its horns but they were spotted and pursued.

Officers from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Police embarked on a major air and ground operation and arrested the five.

According to the Naivasha district KWS game warden Mr Munene Rauni, investigations indicated that the poachers used a gun to kill the rhino.

Munene said that after hours of searching they managed to recover one of the smaller horns near the scene of the crime.

“We were using a plane and officers from police, Oserian and KWS and the operation is still going on,” he said.

The warden confirmed the arrest of the five army officers adding that they were released as there was no evidence linking them to the crime.

“The five claim that they had come to see a land belonging to a colleague but we are still investigating this matter as their story is not adding up,” he said.

A source close to the investigations said that one of the army officers had been picked on several times by a tracker-dog.

“The first police officer on the scene say that one of the army officers was on the scene and had the AK47 rifle,” he said.


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