By James Munyeki
Laikipia, Kenya; Three suspected poachers were on Friday arrested in Laikipia west as the war on poaching in the area intensifies.
The three were arrested with four pieces of ivory weighing 49 kilograms and valued at three million shillings.
They were intercepted as they transported the ivory from Laikipia west to Nairobi at Maili Saba area along Nyahururu-Rumuruti road.
According to the area KWS Game Warden Erick Aduda, it is believed that the trio were among suspects behind the raising cases of poaching and ivory trade in the area .
“We believe that the trio is among a notorious group of people who are behind the killing of elephants and rhinos in this area.We laid a trap and that is when we arrested them while transporting the ivory in a saloon car,” he said.
Aduda noted that KWS officers acting a tip off from members of the public posed as potential buyers and managed to arrest the suspects with the ivory.
The vehicle was towed to Nyahururu police station where the suspects are also being locked in as police carry further investigations into the incident.
Aduda said they would be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are completed.
He said suspected poachers will be shot on the spot to deter other offenders.
“We are not going to apprehend any other suspect to the police now and what we will do is to shoot them on the spot.The trend at which they are killing our animals is worrying,” he warned.
Speaking to the press at the Nyahururu KWS Station, Aduda said it was regrettable at which elephants were being killed by poachers but noted that a special team has been set up to deal with the menace.
He said Laikipia West region boast of about 250 adult elephants, and about 75 juveniles from a recent statistics adding that KWS officers will not allow any of them to be lost in the hands of poachers.
He said the war between KWS and poachers has been intensified and called on members of the public to also assist in saving wildlife.
If found guilty, the suspects risk serving a life sentence in jail or a fine not less than Sh 20 million or both.
On his part, Nyahururu Game Warden Richard Lemarkat said areas within Nyahururu, Shamanek, Lariak and Rumuruti forests host a big number of wildlife and that poachers were taking advantage of perennial human-wildlife conflict to carry out the illegal business.
He said once elephants move from their habitats, they were more likely to be killed and called on stakeholders to participate actively in saving the animals.