Police in Kitui on Monday arrested and questioned the County Executive for Environment John Makau over last week's torching of a truck ferrying charcoal.
Mr Makau was summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations offices in Kitui on Monday afternoon alongside county community liaison officer David Mbisi.
The two senior county officers spent the night in custody, awaiting arraignment in court.
County DCI boss Prosper Bosire confirmed the arrests, saying his detectives were looking for more suspects in connection with the incident.
“We arrested two county officers and questioned them over their alleged involvement in the burning of a charcoal truck at Kanyonyoo,” Mr Bosire told the Nation on the phone.
He said they would be arraigned at the Embu law courts on Wednesday to face charges of arson and property destruction.
Mr Bosire said investigations had established more people were involved in the arson and they would be arrested regardless of their status in society.
He, however, said the police crackdown on the arson suspects was not aimed at frustrating the Kitui County Government’s ban on charcoal trade. It is aimed at maintaining law and order and protecting people's property, Mr Bosire said.
“The county government can continue enforcing its ban but we won’t allow trucks passing through Kitui, from other counties where charcoal trade is allowed and legal, to be attacked by people taking the law into their hands,” he said.
The charcoal truck was burnt on Wednesday last week after it was impounded along the Mwingi-Nairobi highway.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu had launched a crackdown on charcoal trade.
Transporters in Kiambu County on Saturday held protests demanding Mrs Ngilu’s arrest for allegedly inciting youth to burn lorries transporting charcoal in Kitui.
They lit bonfires at Kwambira area along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway and blocked the road with logs.
They accused Governor Ngilu of negative ethnicity.
Mrs Ngilu has denied allegations that she was targeting traders from certain communities in the crackdown on charcoal trade.
She said the truck was torched while in police custody and officers should explain what happened.
The governor said she would continue enforcing the charcoal and sand harvesting bans passed by the county assembly, following public outcry over environmental degradation.
“I’ve a duty as a leader to take decisive measures to protect our environment in order to mitigate perennial drought,” she said.