7 March 2012

Kenya: 41 Held Over KWS Rangers' Killing

MORE than 40 suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the killing of two Kenya Wildlife Service rangers while on patrol in a private ranch in Taita Taveta county on Friday last week. The rangers were on a mission to remove snares at Sagala Ranch when they were ambushed by armed poachers who shot them dead and made away with their rifles. Witnesses said the six attackers are shiftas who linked to increased poaching activities in the private ranches adjacent to the Tsavo National Park. The incident happened barely a week after two elephants were killed by suspected poachers at the Lwalenyi Ranch in Mwatate district.

KWS assistant director in charge of Tsavo National Park, Wilson Korir said that an operation has since been launched and several suspects arrested. "KWS is conducting a joint operation with other security forces including the Kenya police, General Service Unit and the administration police. So far we have managed to arrest 41 suspects in relation to the incident," he said.

Korir said majority of the suspects have been questioned by the police and KWS security personnel adding that they have gathered important information in regard to the attackers and promised to arrest them soon. "Some of the suspects have been released after interrogation although some less than 10 suspects are still in police custody with some of them suspected to be the main players in the attack," he said.

He, however, said they have not managed to recover the stolen firearms and bullets. Korir said the families of the deceased rangers have been informed of the tragedy and that burial arrangements are underway. He appealed to the public to report any suspicious people in the area to the nearest security personnel.

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