Kenya, Tanzania launch joint manhunt for elephant poachers

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The Kenyan and Tanzanian governments on Friday formed a joint cross border team to probe the recent poaching of five elephants at Tsavo West national Park in southwest Kenya.The team is tasked to pursue four notorious Tanzania nationals behind the poaching menace in Kenya’s national parks located near the two countries border.

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Kenya wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Gathitu told Xinhua that the two nations are collaborating to apprehend the four suspected poachers believed to be part of an international poaching network. “Already, a team has been set up to investigate and possibly apprehend ivory trade financiers operating between Kenya and Tanzania border,” Gathitu said, adding that the search mission has been extended to the expansive Mt. Kilimanjaro areas where the suspects are believed to be operating from.

KWS and police suspect the gang could be behind the seizure of tonnes of ivory that were impounded in Thailand and Singapore in April and May respectively. An investigation report by an inter-agency team appointed to probe indicates that the ivory was smuggled from the Tanzania to Mombasa through the Lunga Lunga border.

Gathitu said one more Kenyan suspect has been arrested, bring the total number of poachers being interrogated to four over Monday’s killing of the five elephants. He disclosed that KWS will also contact Interpol in the manhunt and investigation of prominent individuals behind the ivory trade.

The carcasses were found on Tuesday at Losoita area of Tsavo West National Park from where the search mission team tracked the suspected poachers to the nearby Manyatta. The five carcasses comprised of a female adult and four young ones. Their tusks were missing.

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