MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police on Monday arrested four suspected poachers in the coastal city of Mombasa. Police recovered elephant tusks with an estimated value of 15, 000 U.S. dollars at the Mariakani weighbridge along the Mombasa Nairobi highway.
Kaloleni police commander, David Kerina said two main suspects, a Congolese and an Arab, were meant to receive the ivory, were arrested in Mombasa.
The two pieces of ivory weighing over 20 kg were being ferried to Mombasa from Kangundo in eastern Kenya.
"Working on intelligence information, we managed to apprehend the suspects and recovered the ivory," Kerina told journalists in Mombasa.
According to police, the private Nissan Matatu had red ribbons fixed on it to signify a funeral entourage to easily escape police dragnet.
Police intercepted it and recovered the ivory hidden within the chassis and arrested two locals.
Kerina said the two locals were hired to drop the consignment to Mombasa where it was to be picked by the two foreigners linked to poaching menace.
Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Director for Coast Region Arthur Tuda said the Turks are suspected to have been hacked from elephants at Tsavo National park.
He said preliminary investigation indicates that ivory were to be sold to buyer in Mombasa before the deal gone sour.
Tuda said the seizure is major break through in the war on poaching in the country.
Police were investigating if the two could be linked to terrorism activities.
The vehicle was towed to Marikani police station for further investigation before arraigning the suspects in Court.
The four were grilled by anti terrorism police officers over funding of terrorism activities that include recruitment of Kenyan youths to join Al-Shabaab terror grouped other criminal activities
Al-Shabaab is believed to have funded its terrorist attack by poaching endangered species in the country’s national parks of rhinos and elephants.
According police probe reports poaching and terrorism could be more closely linked than previously thought.
The report says proceeds from poaching are used to fund criminal activities including terrorism in the country where locals were involved in the poaching.
KWS Director-General William Kiprono said with rampant poaching there is a need to establish whether or not Al-Shabaab is receiving funding from poaching.
Kenya CID director Ndegwa Muhoro said a unit has been established probe businessmen who are believed to be funding the al-Shabaab, in Kenya.
Muhoro said the detectives are investigating 20 accounts in local and foreign banks that police believe have been used to fund terrorism.
Investigations will target banks, forex bureaus and other avenues, which may have been used for money-laundering.