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Ivory seizer suggests Kenya police involved in poaching

A Thai customs officials laws out the ivory seized in a container sent from Kenya bound for Laos. (photo/www.theguardian.com)
A Thai customs official lays out the ivory seized in a container sent from Kenya bound for Laos. (photo/www.theguardian.com)

In a stunning development, it has emerged that part of the 3 tonne ivory haul seized in Thailand earlier this week included pieces of ivory that were previously in the custody of the Kenyan police as evidence. Pattaymail.com, a Thai news outlet, quoted Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, saying authorities had previously seized some of the ivory and sent it back to Kenya as evidence.

“Most of them were the tusks earlier seized and sent back to their origins in Africa whereas some were those having been kept as evidence in some countries,”

reported Pattaymail.com about the ivory that was seized in a container sent from Kenya headed to Laos. The news has shocked many Kenyans because it suggests that corrupt networks in the Kenya police service are involved in the ivory trade.

Some Kenyans are suggesting that it’s perhaps due to the embarrassing nature of the revelations that Kenyan authorities and the mainstream media are mum on the matter.

Noted Kenyan conservationist Dr. Paula Kahumbu says the silence wont do. She is pressing for authorities to investigate and put an end to the corrupt networks that make Kenya a haven for black market ivory traffickers and dealers.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in early March set fire to 15 tonnes of ivory to send the message that the country is serious about ending poaching. However the developments in Thailand show that, as with so much else in Kenya, poaching is rooted in the corrupt fabric of the Kenyan system and can only be eliminated if the president fights the war on graft with the sincerity of purpose and single-mindedness it deserves.

About brain obara

Brian Obara is a lawyer and writer and the Nairobi County Editor for Kenya Monitor.

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