2 poachers killed, 4 Congolese arrested with ivory in Kenya

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Soldiers display the recovered ivories in Nairobi, Kenya, June 22, 2012. [File photo/Xinhua]

Kenya's authorities have killed two poachers and arrested 4 suspects including a Congolese man in separate incidents in central Kenya and Nairobi as anti-poaching operations intensify in the East African nation.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Mbugua said two suspected poachers were gunned down in a fire fight at Solio Ranch near in Nyeri, central Kenya early on Thursday.

Mbugua said a G3 rifle with 7 rounds of ammunition recovered. "In Nairobi County, three suspects have been arrested trafficking ivory in two separate incidences early this morning," Mbugua said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

In Nyeri Mbugua said KWS rangers encountered the gang of two entering the sanctuary, known to conserve rhinos, at wee hours when a gun fight ensued.

The suspects are believed to have been on a poaching mission in the sanctuary. They had not managed to poach any wildlife. "Assorted poaching weapons were recovered from them. Police are in the scene helping with investigations," he said.

Rampant poaching incidents have forced KWS to embrace the use of modern technologies under its force modernization program to counter the problem and other poaching-related threats.

KWS says it has introduced the Canine Unit with sniffer dogs on a 24-hour basis at the Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa to detect movements of illegal ivory. The unit has since 2009 netted more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory.

This, according to the wildlife agency, has effectively led to reduced smuggling of illegal trophies. Plans are at an advanced stage by KWS to also introduce sniffer dogs at the Eldoret International Airport as well as other exit and entry points.

Stiffer penalties related to wildlife crime have been incorporated under the recently approved wildlife law to deter poaching-related cases and incidents in Kenya.


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