Sh33m ivory seized by customs at the Jomo Kenyatta airport

What you need to know:

  • “It was stated to have been from the Nairobi Exhibition Company Limited and disguised as wood carvings and painted black and red,” the wildlife service statement said.

About a quarter tonne of ivory was Friday seized at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi.

The 260-kilogramme ivory was packed in 12 cartons which also contained carvings destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kenya Airports Police Unit Deputy Commander Douglas Kirocho said the cargo was delivered to the Swissport Cargo Terminal by G4S employees on Thursday and booked for transportation with Turkish Airlines.

“When security personnel scanned the packages, they detected a suspicious commodity and that is when we decided to open them today in the morning and check,” Mr Kirocho said,
The cartons contained 1,356 pieces that had been painted black and brown. The ivory was estimated to be worth Sh33.8 million.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, the cargo had been declared as exhibition commodity.

“It was stated to have been from the Nairobi Exhibition Company Limited and disguised as wood carvings and painted black and red,” the wildlife service statement said.

Originated

Police are yet to confirm whether the ivory originated from Kenya or was in transit through the airport.

Customs manager Justus Nyamache told the Nation that the cargo unit had become more alert following the increase in illegal consignments.

“We have learnt the tricks used by criminals to transport drugs, ivory and other things and we will not allow them to prosper,” Mr Nyamache said.

The number of people arrested for having ivory continues to rise despite the tough penalties against poachers.

Asian countries have been marked globally as the main importers of banned wildlife products.

Game trophies and other products from ivory and rhino horns are used for making jewellery and medicine.

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