February 2, 2021

Flora Koech

Police are holding three people, including a senior security officer and a government official, after they were intercepted ferrying elephant tusks worth Sh5.1 million at Salawa in Baringo Central.

Charles Kandagor, Robinson Chelimo and Elijah Kemboi were arrested by police and Kenya Wildlife Service officers at 10pm on Sunday. They were transporting the tusks on two vehicles — registration numbers KBA 051S and KBZ 221U.

Baringo County KWS Warden Peter Lekeren said the seven elephant tusks, weighing 51kg, are valued at Sh5.1 million.

“We arrested the suspects following an investigation we have carried out for a long time on trophy dealing in Baringo County. The tusks were in two gunny bags,” said Mr Lekeren.

“The trio were intercepted at Salawa shopping centre and we suspect they were transporting the tusks to Nakuru,” he added.

He regretted that a senior police officer, who was supposed to be at the forefront in enforcing the law, was among the suspects.

Poachers’ days are numbered

“The other suspect is a government official. We are saddened that the people who are supposed to be helping in taming the vice are the culprits. They will be dealt with according to the law,” said Mr Lekeren.

“We are warning poachers that their days are numbered. We are not going to rest until we unravel those who killed the elephants and those involved in the syndicate,” said the warden.

He suspected that the ivory belongs to elephants killed in Lake Kamnarok game reserve, Rimoi national reserve or the neighbouring Turkana County.

The incident happens barely two months after a middle-aged man was arraigned in Kabarnet High Court after he was arrested ferrying two elephant tusks along the Ainabmoi-Barwessa road. The suspect, Matthew Kiptis, was caught by KWS officers transporting the tusks, weighing three kilos, using a motor bike. He appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Paul Biwott.