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Tanzanian withdoctor denies possession of arms

26 September 2013, 16:36 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - A Tanzanian citizen is among a group of men suspected to be behind a spate of illegally killing of elephants and rhinos in Laikipia and Nyeri counties.

Hussein Muhamed Mukumbukwa is currently in custody at Nyeri Central police station after he was arrested among other accomplices in Solio Game reserve, Kieni sub-County.

The suspected poachers are said to have hired his services as a witchdoctor for protection during their poaching mission.

However, according to Nyeri County Police Commander, Agnes Lihabi, they were surprised when police pounced on them on Tuesday since they were perpetrating the activities fearlessly with hope that the rituals performed by Muhammed Mukumbukwa would save them.

During the police raid, two suspects were arrested while other two managed to escape. The two were later on Thursday arraigned in a Nyeri court facing charges of being in possession of two Automatic rifles.

Joseph Ndegwa Mwenje and Hussein Muhamed Mukumbukwa were charged before Nyeri chief magistrate Wilbrodah Juma that on September 24 at Lamuria Sub location in Nyeri County, without reasonable excuse, had in their possession two mark IV rifles.

The charge sheet further indicated that circumstances under which the accused were arrested raised doubt that the said firearms were intended to be used in a manner likely to be prejudicial to the public order.

Mukumbukwa faced a second count that on the same date, being a Tanzanian citizen, he was unlawfully found present in Kenya contrary to section 33 (1) of the Kenya citizenship act 2011.

However, they denied both charges and the prosecution led by Superintendent of police, Catherine Wambua, applied for the two to be remanded at Central police station for one day awaiting accomplishment of investigations.

Mukumbukwa refuted claims by the prosecution that he was in the country illegally saying that his passport was with the person who had been hosting him and is expected to produce it in court.

"Police together with KWS officers are still conducting more investigations into the matter with the possibility of pressing more charges against the two," Inspector Wambua said.

The case will be mentioned on September 27 (tomorrow) while and the hearing was slated for October 29.

The county police commander, Agnes Lihabi, on Wednesday said the suspected poachers had on Monday night attempted to kill a white rhino in the reserve but were unsuccessful.

She said the officers used tracking dogs and traced them to a house where they were hiding.

Police say they believe the Tanzanian was the group’s witchdoctor and his purpose was to perform rituals to protect them from the being nabbed.

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