By Wolfgang H. Thome
News emerged from conservation sources in Nairobi that members of a gang of poachers, allegedly led by one Adan Kanjur, inflicted cruel death on a family of 5 elephant south of Kora National Park in the wider Meru Conservation Area recently, although details were only now becoming public knowledge. Kanjur and other accomplices, who were arrested by Kenyan security, were held on charges of poaching when his alleged gang members, still at large, went on an elephant killing spree in apparent revenge over their "leader’s" arrest to put pressure on the authorities to release him on bond.
Kenyans were further shocked when it emerged that subsequently, for a bond of only Kenya Shillings 150,000 (US$1,675), Kanjur was released, pending trial, causing outrage against not just the alleged culprits – alleged until proven guilty in a competent court of law – but also against the judiciary, which according to one truly angry individual "are in cahoots with the poachers whom they should keep in custody instead of releasing them back to do more poaching as has often been witnessed of late."
Conservationists in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and the wider region have repeatedly demanded that parliaments stiffen the laws and inflict very heavy fines on those found poaching or those found financing the crimes and then facilitating the exportation of blood ivory and rhino horns, while making sentences of at least 10 years in prison with hard labor the rule that magistrates and judges must apply when sentencing those found guilty.
The local Kenyan media will most likely begin to report on the issue in Thursday’s editions, causing yet more outrage among conservationists and the tourism fraternity who are expected to then exert maximum pressure on their respective members of parliament to bring amendments to the house for the respective laws on poaching, ivory smuggling, and related offenses.