Star (Kenya)

Three held over death of ivory investigator Martin

East African Wildlife Society council member Esmond Broadley Martin and his wife Chryssee Martin
East African Wildlife Society council member Esmond Broadley Martin and his wife Chryssee Martin

Police have arrested three men suspected to have been involved in the murder of ivory investigator Esmond Martin.

The three, who were not identified, are being held at the Parklands police station. The arrest comes as investigations indicated that Esmond could have been killed over a land row.

The 75-year-old was found dead in his Karen home on February 4. He had a single stab wound to the neck. His wife Chryssee Martin, who reported the death, found his body after she returned from a walk at 4pm.

Yesterday, Nairobi DCI chief Ireri Kamwende confirmed the arrests. “We have remotely connected them to the crime, but investigations are continuing,” he said.

The Latest findings by police indicate that Esmond was involved in a land dispute with individuals who had forged documents of his land in Karen and intended to kick him out.

A new team of investigators from the homicide section has taken over the probe. The investigators have written to the Lands ministry, seeking details of Esmond’s Karen home to which unnamed people have claimed ownership.

Police have abandoned earlier theories that the murder was a robbery gone bad.

DCI officers have also dismissed claims that Esmond’s murder was related to his work as an ivory investigator and a pending exposé.

Esmond has authored several groundbreaking investigative reports on rhino and ivory smuggling in Kenya and the trade in China, Vietnam, and Laos. He was said to have been working on a new exposé on ivory and rhino horn trafficking.

Esmond, an American geographer, had been travelling the world with his wife and colleagues Lucy Vigne and Dan Stiles. They were on a mission to identify ivory and rhino markets, the traffickers and smuggling techniques.

He was once a UN special envoy for rhino conservation. Among his achievements was helping persuade China to shut down its legal rhino horn trade in 1993 and ivory trade last year.

His last report, ‘Decline in the Legal Ivory Trade in China in Anticipation of a Ban’, was published by Save The Elephants last year.