NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan authorities on Thursday launched investigations following
the seizure of rhino horns worth over 0.7 million U.S. dollars
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
“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
Over 100 kg of alleged rhino horns
seized at Vietnam’s airport