Sudanese, American arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport attempting to smuggle ivory

By Cyrus Ombati

Nairobi, Kenya: A South Sudanese and an American national were arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi while trying to smuggle ivory out of the country over the weekend in two separate incidents.

This is a first arrest of smugglers involving South Sudanese and American nationalities travelling to Juba and Amsterdam respectively.

The two were detected and seized by a joint security team comprising the Kenya Airports Police Unit, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Airways and Kenya Wildlife Service. They were booked at the JKIA Police Station awaiting arraignment in court.

Achol Kuil Reng, 32, was arrested on Sunday night (June 30, 2013) while trying to board a Kenya Airways flight KQ 352 to Juba, South Sudan, while in possession of five ivory bangles weighing 0.2kgs.

Mcnevin David Thorean, an American national, was arrested while trying to board a Royal Dutch Airlines flight KLM 566 to Amsterdam, Netherlands, late Saturday night (June 29, 2013) while in possession of five ivory bangles, seven ivory finger rings, seven ivory pendants and two pieces of worked ivory weighing a total of 0.8kgs.

They have both appeared before a Makadara Law Courts in Nairobi Monday afternoon (July 1, 2013) to face separate charges of smuggling worked ivory through Kenya.

Airport CID boss Joseph Ngisa said the American was arrested on Saturday evening by teams of detectives who were checking passengers’ luggage.

“He appeared in court today (Monday) over the accusations and I am yet to get the returns how the case went about,” said Ngisa.

The American has since paid Sh30,000 fine and allowed to leave.

Ngisa added they are strict and alert at the airport to ensure such contraband do not pass.

KWS officials and other law enforcement agencies have heighted security surveillance at the East and Central Africa busiest airport for illicit consignments of wildlife products and particularly ivory for all flights and destinations.