Kenya’s police have asked Interpol to issue a wanted persons alert for a businessman accused of illegal trafficking in ivory and other game trophies in east Africa.
They say Feizal Ali Mohammed, who hails from Kenya’s Indian ocean port city of Mombasa, is behind an international poaching syndicate involving elephant tusks and was linked to a 3-tonne haul of ivory seized in Mombasa in June.
Poaching has surged in the last few years across sub-Saharan Africa, where gangs kill elephants and rhinos to feed Asian demand for ivory and horns for use in traditional medicines.
Kenyan police said they were working closely with Interpol, the international police agency, to have the suspect arrested.
“We are looking for this guy and we are aware that Interpol has put out his arrest warrant,” Robert Kitur, Mombasa county police commander said on Thursday. “We are working together and exchanging information so that we get him as soon as possible.”
Neither Mohammed nor his representatives were reachable for comment.
Kenya has imposed stiffer penalties – longer jail terms and bigger fines – for wildlife poaching or trafficking, saying poaching is harming tourism, a major earner of foreign exchange.
In January, a Kenyan court convicted a Chinese man of smuggling ivory and ordered him to pay a fine of 20 million shillings ($233,000) or serve seven years in jail, the first sentencing since Kenya introduced the new anti-poaching law.