Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chinese Ivory Smuggler Arrested, Poachers killed in Mwingi

A Chinese ivory smuggler arrested by Kenya Wildlife Services has been arraigned at Makadara Law Courst in Nairobi after being arrest at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Feng Jinzhang, 50 was arrested as he tried to smuggle ivory while on transit aboard a flight KQ 542 from Contonou, Benin to Guangzhou, China, late Sunday night.

Jinzhang was arrested by a joint security team comprising of the Kenya Airports Police Unit, Customs officials, Kenya Airways officials and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials.

The suspect was booked at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport police station awaiting arraignment in court to answer to charges of smuggling, through Kenyan territory, four pieces of ivory bangles.

His arrest comes with at the backdrop of the ongoing 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP) by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting at Bangkok, Thailand.

The meeting posthumously honoured 13 KWS rangers who died in the line of duty, and nine other recipients from around the world, with a Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award.

A Kenyan delegation, headed by Mr. Stephen Manegene from Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, is lobbying state parties to, among others, to ensure no proposals to trade in elephant ivory can be submitted before expiry of a nine years moratorium agreed at CoP14 in The Hague in 2007.

Over the weekend KWS rangers and the Kenya Police arrested a poachin gang after a fierce gub fight at Bisan Hargeisa, near Mwingi town, Kitui County.

They managed to impound 21 pieces of raw ivory weighing 91kg, and a motorbike. A further search in the surrounding areas by a reinforcement team from Kora National Park and the police recovered seven more pieces of ivory weighing 30.6kg.

The team acted on a tip off from members of the public and the suspects who resisted being search which led to the gun fight.

No ranger was hurt during the incident.

Manuel Odeny, ©2013

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