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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK

World: Africa

Kenya seizes ivory poachers

Kenya hopes the arrests will halt 'senseless massacre' of elephants

Four members of an armed gang believed to be responsible for a recent spate of elephant killings have been arrested by Kenyan forces.

The BBC's Cathy Jenkins: ''The arrests come amid fears that poaching is once again on the increase''
The men were arrested by officers of the Kenya Wildlife Service in the Tsavo West National Park.

The Kenyan authorities, who are reported to have seized a firearm and ammunition from the gang, say the men have admitted killing six elephants over the past two months.

Officials are hoping a further member of the gang who escaped over the border to Tanzania will be handed over to them. He is reported to have bullet wounds.

[ image: New rules have allowed some countries to make limited sales in ivory]
New rules have allowed some countries to make limited sales in ivory
The arrests come amid increasing concern that elephant poaching in Kenya is on the increase.

Last month the authorities announced the seizure of 350 kg of ivory - the largest such seizure in the country for a decade.

It was found in the town of Maralal, 300km north of the capital Nairobi. Forty-five pieces of ivory, which had come from at least 23 elephants, were hidden at three different sites around the town.

The Kenya Wildlife Service said it hoped the latest arrests would halt the senseless massacre of elephants in the park.

New rules anger Kenya

It is still seeking gangs in the neighbouring park of Tsavo East, where a park ranger was killed in July.

The wildlife authorities say that a total of nineteen elephants have been killed for their ivory in the two Tsavo parks, which are divided by the Nairobi to Mombassa highway, this year.

The BBC's Correspondent in Nairobi, Cathy Jenkins, says Kenya is angry about new rules which have allowed three African countries to make limited sales in ivory.

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Internet Links

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