A Kenyan court on Friday sentenced a man to 20 years in jail and fined him 20 million shillings ($200,000) for ivory smuggling. This is in line with the government’s renewed fight to curb elephant poaching in the country.
Police accused Feisal Mohamed Ali, from the coastal city of Mombasa, of being behind an international ivory poaching syndicate linked to a 3-tonne haul of elephant tusks seized in Mombasa in June 2014.
Poaching has surged in recent years across sub-Saharan Africa, where gangs kill elephants and rhinos to feed Asian demand for ivory and horns for use in folk medicines.
Kenya has imposed longer jail terms and bigger fines for wildlife poaching or trafficking, saying it is harming tourism, a major earner of foreign exchange.
Ali was arrested in Dar es Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania in December 2014 on a warrant issued by Interpol.
He faced two counts of handling ivory tusks and possessing ivory. He denied the charges but the court in Mombasa found him guilty on the second count and acquitted him on the first.
Magistrate Diana Mochache said: “120 elephants were killed and the value of the tusks was 44 million shillings.” She was referring to the consignment of elephant tusks confiscated during a police raid on a warehouse in Mombasa.