MOMBASA, Kenya, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers nabbed two suspects with ten pieces weighing 73 kilograms of ivory valued at 7.3 million shillings (73,000 U.S. dollars) in Samburu village in the coastal town of Kwale.
The two, Charles Mweni, 32, and Tabitha Mueni 43 were arrested on Thursday evening after an operation conducted by the DCI detectives working in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service rangers from Mombasa and Kenya Police from Taru Police Station.
“We arrested them after a tip-off from members of public and they are being held at Taru Police Station as we speak,” Coast KWS Conservation Area Assistant Director Arthur Tuda told Xinhua on Friday.
He said that the officers posed as buyers before pouncing on the suspects. “If the public continues being vigilant like this we will end the poaching menace and save our elephants,” he added.
KWS officials say the elephants could have been killed in the nearby Tsavo National Park.
The arrests are latest in a series of seizures made this year by the anti-poaching officers.
In July, police canine unit sniffed out 35 pieces of ivory tusks worth 180,000 dollars at Makombeni village, Kilifi County leading to arrests of two suspects. In May, officers nabbed 8 pieces of ivory weighing 8 kilograms concealed in a sack of maize and arrested two suspects.
Mombasa port, the largest port in East Africa, is used as a transit route by smugglers of illegal animal parts, according to international investigating agencies.