Police arrest man and woman 'slaughtering more than 30 donkeys in Limuru'

Donkey carcasses found at Rwasumali Village in Ndeiya, Limuru Constituency. [Twitter, DCI]

Police in Kiambu County have arrested two suspects who were on Wednesday allegedly found slaughtering donkeys at Rwasumali Village in Ndeiya, Limuru Constituency.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), via its Twitter handle, identified the suspects as Patrick Muiruri, 29, and Elizabeth Wangeci, 32.

According to the DCI, the donkey meat ends up being sold in butchers' shops in Nairobi and its neighbouring counties.

An investigation into the exact destinations for the meat is, however, underway.

More than 30 carcasses of slaughtered donkeys were found at the scene in Rwasumali Village, police said.

The suspects, Muiruri and Wangeci, were arrested and taken to Ndeiya Police Station.

Two vehicles suspected to have been used in transporting the meat were also impounded.

At the scene, an open field in the Limuru village, several donkey bones were found strewn all over the place.

"After slaughtering the animals, the unscrupulous traders extract boneless meat from the animal's carcass which is sold to meat lovers in the city, disguised as beef fillet and other boneless chops," said the DCI on Twitter.

"No flesh is left to waste as the traders also package the donkey intestines, kidneys and other internal organs, which are sold to outlets dealing in popular roadside delicacy mutura, supu and matumbo," added the DCI.

Police said they acted on a tip-off after receiving several complaints from the residents of Limuru that their donkeys had been stolen in high numbers.

In 2020, the Kenyan government had banned the slaughter and sale of donkey meat, citing increased cases of donkey theft in the country.

Until then, the slaughter of donkeys was legal after the trade was okayed by the government in 2012.

Official government statistics indicated that the donkey population had reduced from 1.8 million in 2009 to 1.17 million in 2019.

In May 2021, the High Court lifted the ban on donkey slaughtering, saying the State had failed to argue its case on why the ban should be upheld.

"The government has failed to sufficiently defend this case and this court quashes the Legal Notice 63 of 2020 as it violates the rights of Star Brilliant," said Justice Richard Mwongo in his May 2021 ruling.

Donkey hides are largely exported to the Asian market, where it is used in the manufacture of Chinese medicine.

Kenya has four donkey abattoirs spread across four counties.