Five recent “kidnappings” in Central Kenya may confirm anonymous reports of poached rhinos in Kenya.
SEEJ-AFRICA has failed to confirm anonymous reports that in recent weeks two rhinos have been poached from Solio Ranch and Nakuru National Park respectively. However, a report published in The Daily Nation yesterday, “Kenya: Were Five Kidnap Victims Linked to Poaching Ring?”, would suggest there may very well be substance to the report.
The Daily Nation story, re-printed below, reports that five Kenyan men were “kidnapped” over the space of a few days in four separate incidents. The suspects were driving two Subaru vehicles and a Toyota Succeed in all incidents and carried out the abductions with witnesses present. The brazen manner in which the “abductions” were made would suggest to many that government agencies were involved.
One of the abductees, Gerald Guandara Ndiritu, had previously been arrested and subsequently acquitted for a poaching incident in May 2017. He had been charged with Gicobi Mwai at the time and also found in possession of a rifle with its bolt action missing and serial number removed.
Adding fuel to the fire of the story, the Nation also reported that Mwai had been shot and killed by KWS some time after that arrest while attempting to poach in Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
The facts of the original arrest have been muddied, however, which again raises suspicions. While the charge sheet of CF 947/17 in Nyahururu court reads that the accused were found in possession of 7.5 kg of ivory, media reports at the time based on KWS statements indicate that the two men were arrested for poaching rhino at Solio Ranch and possibly Ol Pejeta.
In a story published one month after the arrest, and entitled: “10 key dealers nabbed and 289 kilos of ivory seized”, KWS refers to Gicobi Mwai and Gerald Nderitu as “notorious rhino poachers who have repeatedly sneaked into conservancies in the Mountain Conservation Area (MCA), to harvest rhino horns.” It was reported in that same story that they had been arrested for killing a rhino at Solio Ranch on May 29th, 2017. A tenuous link was made between recent rhino poaching in Kenya and a 117 kg rhino horn seizure in Vietnam that had a Jomo Kenyatta International Airport connection.
On May 8th, 2107, three weeks prior to the arrest of Gicobi Mwai and Gerald Nderitu, KWS reported that a female rhino had been killed at Solio Ranch and its horn removed. A rhino calf was rescued at the time the carcass was discovered.
Kenya has previously reported that no rhinos were poached in the country for the year 2020.