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Poachers released on KES1M bond

09 May 2013, 14:37 James Kabotia

A Nanyuki court has granted four suspected poachers a bond of KES 1 million with two sureties of similar amount each.

This is the highest bond terms to poaching suspects in the Kenya’s history, especially those charged under the penal code and the existing Wildlife act.

Senior magistrate Bethwel Kimtai ordered Saimoti Kiloris, Misia Kaunga, Tumbesi Lengei and Kisia Shuel to remit the sureties at the court.

The suspects were charged that on April 4 this year, they killed a rhino at Il-Ng’wesi ranch in Laikipia County with intent to steal the trophy, an offense they had denied earlier before Chief Magistrate Jesse Nyaga.

The rhino nicknamed Omni was the only black rhino at Il’Ng’wesi ranch, which is managed by the local community.

The rhino was donated to the community by the government through Lewa Downs Conservancy in 2002.

Early last week, the suspects appeared for the mentioning of their case where they pleaded to be released on bail, but the prosecution, led by Job Kaiga opposed, claiming that police were not through with investigations and that they intended to prefer more charges against the four.

By the time of going to press, none of the suspects had managed to raise the money and so they were still locked at the Nanyuki G.K Prison.

Elodie Sampere, the communications manager at Ol’Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, wrote in a statement: “While we are extremely saddened by the death of Omni at the hands of poachers, we are pleased to announce that since we released the information, the magistrate in Kenya has set the highest ever bail in respect of wildlife crime in the country for the four culprits.

“This is an encouraging sign that the Kenya government is taking poaching crimes seriously. We hope this judgment will set a precedent and become a serious deterrent against poachers,” Sampere continued.

The new terms come at a time when conservationists have been blaming the government and parliament of delay in tabling the Wildlife Bill, which is believed to propose punitive measures against criminals engaging in poaching and other wildlife related crimes.

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