Suspected poacher loses attempt to block extradition to US

Mansur Mohamed Surur alias Mansour

Suspected wildlife trafficker Mansur Mohamed Surur alias Mansour at the Milimani Law Courts on on September 30, 2020. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A 60-year-old Kenyan believed to be a poaching kingpin and wildlife trafficker has lost an attempt to block the government from extraditing him to the US for a criminal trial.

Milimani chief magistrate Martha Mutuku said the application by the State to extradite Mr Mansur Mohamed Surur alias Mansour had merit as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had proved that the suspect was a fugitive.

Mr Mansour, who in court looked weak and frail, will be repatriated and surrendered to the US authorities after 15 days.

Court documents produced by the prosecution indicate that he is a dual citizen of Kenya and Yemen. He is wanted in the US for prosecution in relation to at least five criminal offences involving illegal trade in ivory and money laundering.

The crimes involve the illegal poaching of more than 35 rhinos and over 100 elephants, both protected wildlife species, valued at more than Sh700 million.

Warrant of arrest

The US government issued a warrant for his arrest following his indictment by a court in New York for conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking, money laundering and distribute and possess narcotic drugs. He is accused of conspiring to sell 10 tonnes of elephant ivory and more than 190 kilogrammes of rhinoceros horn across a seven-year period, beginning December 2012 to May 2019.

The wildlife parts were from various countries in East Africa, including Uganda, DR Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania.

On August 8, 2019, the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) forwarded to Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations a red notice indicating that Mr Mansuor and his colleague Mr Badru Abdul Aziz Saleh were wanted in the US for the crimes.

Mr Mansuor was arrested on July 29 at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa, upon arrival from Yemen on a chartered flight. He was among 47 Kenyans stranded in Yemen who were returning home on a chartered Skyward Express flight.

According to the court documents, Mr Mansour escaped from Kenya in July 2019, as the government processed the extradition of his colleague Mr Saleh, to the United States.