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Police arrest five suspected poachers in Gatundu South Sub-county

By ERIC WAINAINA and CHARLES NGENO

KENYA: Five suspected poachers have been arrested in Gatundu South Sub-county and ivory worth Sh3.3 million impounded.

The suspects were arrested as they were looking for a market in the area.

According to area police boss Peter Katam, the 33kg of ivory is suspected to have been sourced from Kinale, Aberdare and Kieni forests in Kiambu County. Mr Katam said officers received a tip-off that the five were sourcing for buyers in Gatundu town and its environs.

The police in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers traced them and posed as potential buyers of the ivory. 

“They were arrested as they were delivering the tusks in Gatundu town,” Mr Katam said.

The suspects are being held at Gatundu Police Station waiting to be arraigned in court.

Meanwhile, two former KWS rangers suspected to have been on a poaching mission were yesterday arrested in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

The two were arrested at Sekenani armed with night vision binoculars, saws and a GPRS kit.

Acting on a tip-off from the public, KWS wardens led by Mike Ntutu and Peter Nyaga raided the pair’s hide-out at night.

Warrants of arrest for the two suspects had earlier been issued in Nanyuki, Laikipia and Nakuru.

“They have been repatriated to Nanyuki where they will be charged for their poaching activities,” said Mr Ntutu.

The wardens linked the two to a cartel behind poaching activities in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Tight security

Mr Ntutu added that security has been beefed up within and around the reserve in an effort to reduce poaching, which has been on the rise in the recent past.

Siana Conservancy Chairman Sammy Nkoitoi lauded the move and appealed to the government to deploy more security personnel, especially during this high tourist season.

“The wildebeest migration has begun and we are hosting many local and foreign tourists. We want them to feel safe as they enjoy one of the world’s wonders,” said Mr Nkoitoi.

He asked communities living around the game reserve to cooperate with security officers in curbing poaching.

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