Poachers Wearing Police Uniforms
Kenya Wildlife Service rangers shot dead two suspected poachers in police uniforms at the Meru National Park as they attempted to kill and maim a white rhino. The officials also recovered an AK-47 gun, five rounds of ammunition, Administration Police jacket, an axe and torch after a gunfire exchange with the suspects.
Meru National Park senior warden Captain Kenneth Ochieng’ said three other suspects escaped, one with gunshot wounds. He said they were alerted by gunshots at around 1:30am when they mobilized the ground team and laid an ambush before the suspects walked into their dragnet.
“We gunned down one of them whom we believe was the gang leader in a GSU pair of trousers,” he said.
Another escaped with severe gunshot wounds but, we are informed, he died and was buried by his community the same day,” said Ochieng’. He confirmed the suspects had injured a male white rhino on the leg and that they are still pursuing the three who escaped.
He called on residents with any information about the suspects to volunteer it to police for appropriate action. “The poachers are from the Borana community who live in the northern part of the park and some of those on the run are from Kulamawe tribe,” said the park boss.
Meanwhile, two poachers are being held at Maua Police Station waiting to be charged in court after they were arrested at Giutine market selling two ivories, weighing three kilogrammes. Ochieng said the two are awaiting completion of investigations after which they will be arraigned in court.
“Our intelligence gathered information that the poachers were about to deliver the ivory before KWS rangers nabbed them,” he said. He explained that KWS had invested heavily in the park neighbouring communities through corporate social responsibility activities and called upon residents to reciprocate the kind gesture by passing information on poaching to them, adding that the wildlife belonged to everyone.
He also called upon the residents to embrace the Nyumba Kumi initiative to help identify anyone with poaching intentions. The warden called upon poachers operating in the area to surrender their illegal weapons and stop the vice or risk facing the heavy penalties that include life imprisonment, if caught. Ochieng said aerial surveillance of animals is done every day to know where the animals are located and check any illegal activity going on in the park.
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