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Suspected poachers attack rangers in Mwingi as Chinese is arrested at JKIA
Date Published: 11 Mar, 2013
A joint operation by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers and the Kenya Police is underway to pursue a suspected poaching gang that escaped arrest in a case where KWS officials came under fierce gun fight at Bisan Hargeisa, near Mwingi town, Kitui County on Friday (March 8, 2013).
A total of 21 pieces of raw ivory weighing 91kg, and a motorbike, believed to have been used by the dealers, were recovered. 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.
A team from KWS headquarters in Nairobi, acting on a tip off from members of the public, had approached the suspects and tried to arrest them. The suspects’ accomplices, who were hiding in the nearby bush, started firing in an attempt to foil the arrest. It was not immediately clear whether the suspects were injured in the ensuing gun battle. However, no ranger was hurt in this incident.
Meanwhile, a man holding a Chinese passport will be arraigned in a Makadara Law Court in Nairobi this Monday afternoon (March 11, 2013) following his arrest at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for trying to smuggle ivory while on transit aboard a flight KQ 542 from Contonou, Benin to Guangzhou, China, late Sunday night (March 10, 2013) .
Feng Jinzhang, 50, was however arrested by a joint security team comprising of the Kenya Airports Police Unit, Customs officials, Kenya Airways officials and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials.
He 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 worked ivory bangles.
The recovery occurred against a 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 (9) years (i.e. before 2017) moratorium agreed at CoP14 in The Hague in 2007.