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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyan authorities launch probe into rhino horns nabbed in Vietnam

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities on Thursday launched investigations following the seizure of rhino horns worth over 0.7 million U.S. dollars in Vietnam.

According to media reports, 119 kilograms of rhino horn were stashed in two suitcases and sneaked from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenyan capital of Nairobi in a well coordinated syndicate.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Gathitu said the horns were smuggled from Malawi to Nairobi en route to Vietnam via National Carrier Kenya Airways.

Speaking to Xinhua, Gathitu said a multi-agency team investigating the seizure is analyzing CCTV footage that captures crew members removing tag from the two suitcases and concealing the suitcases.

He said the haul was impounded at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Tuesday after they were found hidden in luggage on a flight from Nairobi.

The two suitcases were found to contain 57 kilograms and 62 kilograms of Rhino horns, respectively during the scanning by custom officials at Vietnam airport.

“We have launched investigation to establish how the haul was smuggled from the airport without detection. Several staff members including airport officials will be questioned, “ said Gathitu.

Vietnam is a lucrative market for rhino horns, believed to have medicinal properties as conservationists warn that rhino population has dwindled due to ready market in Asia.

In 2016, Vietnam customs officials seized nearly one tonne of ivory hidden in a timber shipment from Kenya that had originated from port of Mombasa.

Kenyan authorities are yet to arrest brothers Samuel Jefwa and Nicholas Jefwa wanted by Interpol for colluding with custom officials to smuggle the ivory in the Asian market .

In 2013, the government imposed stiffer penalties—longer jail terms and bigger fines—on anyone convicted of poaching or trafficking in wildlife trophies, saying poaching was harming tourism, a major foreign exchange earner.

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Over 100 kg of alleged rhino horns seized at Vietnam’s airport  

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