Illegal ivory traders devise new ways to beat detection

Friday May 17 2019

The pieces of ivory which were seized from two suspects in Mombasa on May 16, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Two people were on Thursday found with eight pieces of ivory worth millions of shillings in Mwembe Tayari, Mombasa.

Kenya Wildlife Service assistant director for Coast conservation area Arthur Tuda said the two suspects had concealed the ivory in sacks of maize.

But one of the suspects claimed he is a university student and that he was framed.

He claimed he had brought a sack of maize from Kitale to Mombasa via a public bus and was unaware that there was ivory in the sack.

However police in Mombasa said they ambushed the suspects following a tip off that they were carrying suspicious luggage.

But Mr Tuda said the two suspects Ibrahim Ali and Japhet Bakari were nabbed with eight pieces of the tusks. He said the two will help investigators in revealing their networks.


Mombasa police commander Jonston Ipara warned Kenyans against engaging in the illegal trade.

“We are conducting operations to flush out criminals in this city,” Mr Ipara warned.

Mr Tuda said those doing the illegal business have now come up with the new ways of concealing the ivory to evade arrest.

“Mombasa is an ivory hub where criminals meet before they ship their consignment to other nations because of the closeness to the port,” Mr Tuda said.

The arrests came after two other suspects were apprehended in Kilifi on Wednesday with four pieces of ivory weighing 8.5 kilogrammes.

Mr Tuda said the suspects are being held at Malindi Police Station.

The two had concealed the four pieces in a sack of charcoal.