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Archive for March, 2012

Twin explosions rock Mombasa

Posted by Administrator on March 31, 2012

Photo/DANIEL NYASSY/NATION Police secure the scene of the blast in Mombasa on March 31, 2012.

Photo/DANIEL NYASSY/NATION Police secure the scene of the blast in Mombasa on March 31, 2012.

At least one person was killed when two explosions rocked Mombasa town on Saturday evening.

The blasts occured at a busy bus terminus in Mtwapa and a restaurant in Mombasa town.

In Mtwapa, explosives were hurled at a Christian prayer meeting, fifteen kilometres from Mombasa town centre, at about 6.30pm.

The second attack took place shortly afterwards at a restaurant near the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.

At least 26 people were reported injured in the attack at the prayer gathering.  However, Sunday Nation could not independently verify the casualty figures.

In the second attack, at the Stadium View Bar and Restaurant, a police officer is said to have sustained serious injuries. The second attack took place at around 7.45pm.

Coast Provincial Commissioner Mr Ernest Munyi confirmed the explosions, saying that one person, a woman, had died in the Mtwapa incident.

While official sources reported that one person had died, unconfirmed reports indicated that the dead may have been four.

Mvita MP Najib Balala said that a second explosion had occurred at an entertainment spot near the Municipal stadium almost simultaneously.

“I have heard that besides the explosion in Mtwapa, there has been another one at an entertainment spot at the Buxton area near the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.

“I am trying to get further details from my contacts who live near the area where the second explosion has occurred. The details are still scanty,” he explained.

A senior police officer who, cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the force, said the Mtwapa prayer gathering was coming to an end when the device exploded, sending the congregation scampering to safety.

The officer who was among the first to rush to the scene said the incident occurred at around 6.30pm, sparking a major stampede in the area.

“It is hard to tell whether it was a grenade or a bomb, we are still investigating,” the officer stated.

The PC said that emergency services had been mobilised to undertake rescue efforts and ferry the injured to hospitals. He said the injured, three of them in critical condition, were taken to Coast General  Hospital.

Reports by Mark Agutu, Daniel Nyassy and Peter Leftie

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Twin+explosions+rock+Mombasa+/-/1056/1377838/-/7jakw1z/-/index.html

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Hope for KR pensioners as new board is unveiled

Posted by Administrator on March 31, 2012

A new board to run the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme has been unveiled, one month after retirees demanded the sacking of directors linked to mismanagement.

The appointment of five members to the board  comes in the wake of  an audit report by the Retirement Benefit  Authority (RBA) which revealed how the outgoing board of trustees had mismanaged billions of shillings belonging to more than 9,000 retired Kenya Railways workers.

The scheme which is one of the wealthiest in the country in terms of land assets is worth in excess of Sh20 billion.

General (rtd) Jeremiah Kianga, who is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kenya Railways Corporation, unveiled the new team early last month in Nairobi during a meeting held at the KRC boardroom in Nairobi.

The new board members are Mr Arthur Runyejes, Mr Johnson Mwinzi, Ms Rhoda Muriungi, Captain (rtd) Ahmed Munir Abile and Mrs Josephine Masibo who is a senior manager at Human Resource Department in the corporation.

An insider in the meeting told the Sunday Nation that one nominee declined to take over the new duties.

Pensioners will elect their nominee at the Kenya Railways Training Institute in Nairobi on April 27 to join the board.

Two other board members will come from Rift Valley Railways and  the board of Kenya Railways Corporation.

The function to unveil the new board was attended by representatives from Kenya Railways Pensioners Association, the Association of Kenya Railways Retirement Association, former senior officials of Kenya Railways and women representatives .

During the meeting, General (rtd) Kianga reportedly told the pensioners that the new team was committed to ensure they will never suffer again.

“He assured us that the new team will bring in professionalism and that if we feel there is anything wrong going on at the scheme, his doors were wide opened,” said Mr Robert Azaria, the secretary general of Kenya Railways Pensioners Association who attended the meeting.

The previous nine-member board  which was sent packing was chaired by Ms Beryl Odinga. Other board members were Kenya Railways Chief Executive Nduva Muli, Dr Mtana Lewa, Mr Ken Wahome, Mr Silas Gitari, Mr Lazarus Keizi, Mr Moses Njeka, Ms Priscilla Mukuria and Mr Daniel Obop.

The previous board was accused of massive irregularities including selling some properties. It had also failed to settle pension arrears dating back to 2005.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/business/news/Hope+for+KR+pensioners+as+new+board+is+unveiled+/-/1006/1377522/-/tlf1te/-/

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Kenya’s decade-long property boom hits trouble at last

Posted by Administrator on March 30, 2012

(Reuters) – Pamela Onyambu went into the real estate business seven years ago to capitalise on a housing boom fuelled by Kenya’s middle classes. Now she fears interest rates that have doubled in six months will wipe out any profit on her latest venture.

Standing at the entrance to a half-built apartment block on the outskirts of Nairobi, Omyambu worries that her newest project will also turn out to be her most costly.

A leap in commercial interest rates to as high as 30 percent from a low of 14 percent, triggered by an aggressive tightening of monetary policy, has left both developers and buyers struggling to meet high funding costs.

Housing has been one of Kenya’s fastest growing sectors over the last decade, with returns from real estate outpacing equities and government securities.

But in the last quarter of 2011, the construction sector, and much of the country’s economy hit trouble after the central bank jacked up its benchmark interest rate by 11 percentage points to 18 percent to beat back inflation and stabilise the Kenyan shilling.

The high interest rates have put the brakes on the growth of private sector credit, which in turn could slow down the whole of East Africa’s biggest economy.

Onyambu’s more immediate concern is that the real estate bubble may have burst.

“Our initial cost for this project was 334 million shillings. By the end of this project we would have spent over 450 million shillings. We’ll have to charge more per unit just to recover our costs,” the 44-year-old said.



The property craze saw coffee plantations in the capital’s suburbs uprooted to pave way for gated housing estates and shopping centres. One million Kenyans found work in construction.

A study by the World Bank and Central Bank of Kenya, showed the housing sector grew at rates of 10 to 20 percent annually between 2006-10.

The slowdown in the property sector is being mirrored in other parts of the economy.

Joseph Kimeu, a manager at car dealer Marshalls East Africa , says sales have fallen.

“We bought these cars when the shilling was 107 per dollar, but they are still stuck in the show room,” Kimeu said, pointing at a wide range of luxury cars in a showroom empty of buyers.

Kiosks selling groceries have not been spared either.

“Bread, maize flour, soft drinks take longer to run out. Most people just buy groceries. Few are buying durable items such as pens, bulbs, toiletries and so on,” said Christine Maingi, at her shop in a middle class area in the capital.

Betty Maina, chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said some members were scaling down plans for expansion and new projects, while digging into their own reserves to avoid costly bank loans.

“People have postponed heavy capital expenditures for a while. They expect interest rates to come down from mid-this-year,” she said.



Maina also said businesses are cutting down on new investment ahead of the country’s next elections due in March next year. The elections will come under intense scrutiny because they are the first since the 2007 vote that triggered a wave of political violence in which more than 1,220 people were killed.

Adding to the uncertainty, two prominent political figures are facing charges by the International Criminal Court for their role in the violence. They have vowed to take part in the race, angering many and dividing the country ahead of the vote.

“Investors are also looking at the political climate, which is darkening the outlook further,” Maina said.

Over the past three decades, Kenya has had its lowest growth periods in or just after election years, the World Bank says.

Housing developers say the pace of building cooled in the last quarter of 2011, after six years of rises that nearly tripled values.

HassConsult, a property agency which compiles the only property index in the country, says developers are cutting back or postponing new constructions.

“Developers completing their buildings are under a great financial pressure. Their (material) costs had climbed sharply and now their financing costs have jumped,” said Farhana Hassanali, property development manager at HassConsult.

Infrastructure improvements, including new roads, provision of electricity to poor areas and improving security in crime-ridden areas, drove land prices higher. This raised expectations of even higher prices, fuelling the property boom.

The price of an acre in commuter belt territory about 20 km (12 miles) city centre more than tripled in 2011 from three years earlier. While land is seen holding its value for now, housing units that were previously snapped up even before the ground was broken are now struggling to find buyers, even after completion.

“Towards the end of October buyers were already apprehensive because of the impact of the rising inflation we saw during the year,” said Yesse Oenga, a director at Orkpark Properties, a real estate investment firm.

A dozen of the company’s high-rise buildings in Tibetan gold tower above electrified fences, giving a false sense of security in the commuter sprawl around the town of Athi River to the east of the capital.

Muggings and carjackings are common on the dirt roads snaking from the perimeters walls of the apartments. Children from shanties housing construction workers shout as they run after a football in a field nearby.



Kenya’s failure to build enough houses during the economic stagnation of the 1980s and 1990s may be the only reason the market is not already on its knees.

“The only cushion we have now is the (lack of housing) in the market,” said Orkpark Properties’ Oenga.

Even as Kenyan builders subsequently laid bricks as fast as they could, the World Bank estimated Kenya had a housing supply deficit of about 160,000 units a year.

Some real estate analysts feel this underlying demand will prevent an all-out crash.

Developer Sue Muraya of Suraya Property said that the slowdown was in large part due to bloated prices demanded by developers and a fall was inevitable.

She said it was “ridiculous” that a four-bedroom apartment in the capital was going for 25 million shillings ($300,000).

“Most developers have been very optimistic on the pricing of homes, but it is clear that a price correction is on the cards,” Muraya said.

Source: Reuters

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Esther’s mother leaves for home with daughter’s body

Posted by Administrator on March 29, 2012

Kenyan assault victim Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba’s mother Hannah thanks the Kenyan community at a farewell ceremony at the Kenya Consulate, Dubai.

Kenyan assault victim Esther Wanjiru Mwikamba’s mother Hannah thanks the Kenyan community at a farewell ceremony at the Kenya Consulate, Dubai.

Dubai: “Asante sana,” was what Hannah Mwikamba, mother of assault victim Esther Wanjiru, repeatedly said on Wednesday hours before boarding her early morning flight home to Kenya, where Esther will be laid to rest.

The phrase, which means ‘Thank you very much’ in Kiswahili, echoed in her hotel room as she was preparing for her flight on Wednesday.

“Thank you very much to all the Kenyans in Dubai, to our consulate and embassy officials, to everyone who responded by sending emails, messages, prayers and support,” Hannah told Gulf News.

“Thank you also to Rashid Hospital, especially to the doctors who took care of Esther, to all the nursing staff, thank you very much,” she added.

Hannah’s eldest daughter, Esther, succumbed to head injuries on March 20. She was in a coma for 31 days at Rashid Hospital after being brutally beaten by a man in a car park in Dubai.

Hannah was scheduled to fly to Nairobi at 2:30am on Thursday courtesy of Kenya Airways, which also shouldered the cost of repatriating Esther’s remains. Lucy, Esther’s sister, flew to Nairobi yesterday morning. She will meet Hannah upon her arrival there.

Message book

Before Hannah left, the Kenyan community prepared a simple ceremony at the Kenyan Consulate General to give a book that contained messages of support and condolences for the family.

The book was specially prepared and signed by Kenyans who visited the consulate when Esther died on March 20.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, Hannah took the opportunity to thank everyone who helped them from day one.

“I would like to thank the Kenya Welfare Association, the Kenyan government, and the Al Qaid Hotel for hosting us,” Hannah said.

“Thank you also to Gulf News for keeping Esther’s story alive. But please never forget Esther,” the grieving mother said.

“As a mother, I am not happy that I am coming home with my daughter, deceased. It would have been easier to accept if she had recovered from her coma and if I were taking her home alive. As a mother, I love my daughter and this is not easy to accept. But God loves her more. And life still goes on,” Hannah said.

Hannah added that she would follow the case against the Emirati suspect who allegedly brutally beat her daughter, leading to her death, from Kenya.

The 24-year-old suspect has not been granted bail since the incident happened on February 18.

“May God help him,” Hannah said, referring to the suspect.

“May God see him through. We leave everything to God.”

All throughout the family’s ordeal, scores of Kenyans have made Hannah feel loved as if she were their own mum since her arrival in Dubai on March 2.

“We are here to give her support. [She may have] lost Esther, but she still has thousands and thousands of daughters and sons in Kenya. And for me, she can always call us as we are one family. We are one blood, one colour, one nation,” James Peter Ikonya, a Kenyan national who aided Hannah in the hotel, said.

Penina Nyokabi said: “I welcomed Mama Esther [Hannah] when she arrived. I have to see her off.”

Upon reaching Nairobi, the Mwikamba family will embark on a 30-minute drive to the town of Limuru, where a public viewing for Esther’s remains will be held.

The family has not decided on the date of Esther’s burial yet.

Source: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/emergencies/esther-s-mother-leaves-for-home-with-daughter-s-body-1.1001204

Posted in Diaspora News | 2 Comments »

Turkish paedophile re-arrested in Uganda

Posted by Administrator on March 29, 2012

Turkish paedophile Emmin Baro at court

Turkish paedophile Emmin Baro at court

Turkish paedophile Emmin Baro  who lured Ugandan underage girls to perform oral sex on him has been re-arrested, the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura has said.

Kayihura Thursday told a news conference at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala that the 54-year- old man is in police custody.
The Police chief however, did not elaborate when Baro was re-arrested and where he is being detained.

The arrest come after the Director of Public Prosecution Richard Buteera protested the sentence of sh6m fine slapped on a Turkish national of Macedonian origin.

Jane Kajuga Okuo, the Directorate spokesperson said Buteera called for the file of the unusual case because his office was dissatisfied with the sentence that was delivered by Nakawa Court Grade One Magistrate Rosemary Ngabirano.

Baro was on March 27, charged   with Computer Misuse Act under  section 23(4) which stipulates that a person who produces child pornography for purpose of  distribution through computer , commits an offence  and is liable  on conviction  to 15 years imprisonment or  a fine not exceeding three hundred  and sixty currency points ( equivalent of sh7.2m).

Prosecution said Baro was found in possession of a compact disc with videos showing two children sucking his genitals. Baro pleaded guilty upon being charged.

But the presiding magistrate sentenced him to a fine of sh6m or in default he was supposed to serve two years imprisonment. New Vision learnt yesterday that Baro has since paid the fine. The apparent lenient sentence provoked a lot of angry reactions from New Vision readers.

Okuo told the New Vision that the Buteera asked for the police file and the court records with the view to either file an appeal or review the entire court proceedings.

Okuo said the sentence was too lenient for an offence that carries not less than fifteen years, adding that the matter is going to be subjected to another independent investigation to determine the whereabout of the victims.

Kajuga said the numbers of victims involved have not been established. The police are yet to investigate how many victims were involved.
Baro was apprehended on March12, at Bugumba village in Iganga district. At the time of his arrest, he had in his possession compact discs with pornographic videos of children in sexual acts which is contrary to the computer Act 2011. The disc, according to the prosecution shows children sucking his genitals.

It emerged yesterday that Baro’s weird activities were discovered after he forgot the disc at an Internet cafe in Iganga town. The owner of the cafe, after viewing the revolting video recording, tipped off the Police.

While delivering her sentence Magistrate Ngabirano stated that since Baro had pleaded guilty without wasting court’s time, she decided to be lenient to him Sources who preferred anonymity told New Vision that Baro is likely to be charged afresh with aggravated defilement if the Director of Public Prosecution sanctions the file.
Sources said further investigations by the police had revealed more sexual related offences against Baro who by yesterday was still in Luzira prison.

Reports indicate that Baro in 2009 was charged before Malindi court in Kenya after he was allegedly found having sex with a 15-year old Kenyan girl.

He was charged before Senior Resident Magistrate Dominica Nyanibu and he denied the charged according to Kenyan media.

Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/629969-turkish-paedophile-re-arrested.html

Posted in Africa | 2 Comments »

Nigeria’s richest pastor to launch a new airline

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2012

Super-rich Nigerian televangelist Bishop David Oyedepo (right, in gray jacket) sorrounded by aides and supplicants.

Super-rich Nigerian televangelist Bishop David Oyedepo (right, in gray jacket) sorrounded by aides and supplicants.

Nigeria’s richest pastor and self-styled bishop, David Oyedepo, has made a glistening addition to his business empire by floating an airline called Dominion Air. Oyedepo, who a few years ago ignited debate on flamboyant Christianity by acquiring his fourth private jet, is the owner of Dominion Publishing House, Covenant University and an elite secondary school called Faith Academy.

Listed by Forbes as Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor with a net worth of $150 million, David Oyedepo is a preacher and founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, more popularly known as Winners’ Chapel. Besides his four private jets, Forbes also mentioned the preacher’s luxury homes in London and the United States.

Sources within the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the agency charged with business registration in Nigeria, confirmed the registration of Dominion Air with David Oyedepo as its chairman. Another source within a Lagos-based insurance firm known to handle most of Oyedepo’s businesses said the airline project had been in the works for six years and was only made a reality this year.

The broker who balked at putting figures to the number of aircraft so far purchased authoritatively said none of them is on lease.

If Oyedepo’s entry into the airline business is creating exciting buzz in Nigeria’s stock exchange, the same cannot be said with the Christian community, especially the Pentecostal congregations, where the so-called men of God have been criticised for alienating their poor followers with their flamboyant lifestyle.

Money laundering

According to Lawrence Ofili, a member of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), the social movement that staged days of protest over this year’s controversial fuel price hike, Nigerian pastors are increasingly acting like politicians who put themselves first before the people.

“Pastor Oyedepo by his choice of businesses has severally demonstrated a disconnect between himself and hundreds of thousands of poor Christians who he claims to have come to deliver. About 90 per cent of public schools in this country were built by early Christian missionaries; today Oyedepo has Covenant University but it is for children of millionaires,” says Mr Ofili.

“Even with the high school called Faith Academy, I am aware that most children in his congregation dream to be educated there but their parents who probably pay tithes and offerings cannot afford the school fees. His Faith Tabernacle accommodates 50,000 worshippers every Sunday; how many of them are going to fly Dominion Air? Honestly this project is not for the poor. He should have settled for mechanised farming to engage unemployed men and women.”

Source: http://www.africareview.com/News/Nigerian+tycoon+pastor+launches+airline/-/979180/1372562/-/prfta8z/-/

Posted in Africa | 4 Comments »

Immigration changes mean many migrant nurses can’t stay in UK.

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2012

From 6 April 2012, migrants from outside the EU earning less than £35,000 will not be allowed to settle in the UK.

Critics have accused ministers of risking patient health in favour of a “crude” immigration policy after government documents revealed that almost half of the migrant nurses will be forced to leave the UK under the new immigration rules.

A new UK government impact assessment reveals the change will cut the number of NHS nurses by “hundreds or low thousands” and cost the economy up to £433 million over the next 10 years as people leave.

The impact assessment stated: “We estimate 48 percent of migrant nurses, 37 percent of primary school teachers, 35 percent of IT/software professionals and 9 percent of secondary teachers would be excluded.” However, the assessment claims that the loss of the migrant nurses will not have a “significant impact” on the ability of the 698,000-strong nurse workforce in the country to carry out their duties.

But Gail Adams, head of nursing at the union Unison, claimed the losses would come on top of a current shortage of trained nursing staff and at a time when many nurses in what is a relatively elderly workforce will be moving into retirement.

“The government should think again about these restrictions on overseas nurses. They have cut the number of nurse training places by 20 per cent over the last two years, which means we will not have enough qualified nurses to cover those coming up to retirement,” Adams said. “These crude restrictions will make matters worse and create skill shortages in the future. The quality of care will obviously suffer if hospitals cannot recruit the nurses they need to ensure a safe ratio of nurses to patients.”

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Source: http://www.workpermit.com/news/2012-03-28/uk/immigration-changes-mean-many-migrant-nurses-wont-be-able-to-stay-in-uk.htm

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Nairobi has the fastest-growing luxury real estate prices on the planet

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2012

The world’s luxury residential property markets fluctuated in 2011, with some, like Miami and London, recording major gains and others, like Singapore and Sydney, falling significantly.

But the city with the highest rate of growth in luxury real estate prices in 2010 wasn’t a Chinese boomtown or European safe haven, but Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, according to a new wealth report from Knight Frank and Citi Private Wealth.

The study found that prices for high-end real estate in Nairobi jumped 25 percent in 2011. And the Kenyan Coast recorded the second highest growth, with a price jump of 20 percent. Miami came in third, with a price increase of 19.1 percent for luxury real estate, according to the study.

Ironically, some of the largest price drops were in places with the strongest economic growth, likely due to the ongoing impact of the financial crisis and the end of price booms in Asia.

So why the record growth in Nairobi? The report, which calls the increase “startling,” explains:

Safe haven” isn’t necessarily a phrase many people would use to describe the country in a global context, but compared with many of its neighbours it is just that, according to Ben Woodhams, Managing Director of Knight Frank Kenya.

He says that Kenya’s rapid economic development is attracting domestic and international private equity, with particular growth in remittances flowing from Kenya’s increasingly affluent diaspora.

However, recent events such as the kidnapping of tourists staying on the north coast and a sharp rise in interest rates to almost 25% also highlight the potential vulnerability of some emerging prime markets.

These are the 20 places where luxury residential real estate prices increased the most in 2011:

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US writers to honour Ngugi waThiong’o

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2012

Prof Ngugi wa Thiong'o who is set to be honored by a group of US black writers in New York over the weekend.

Prof Ngugi wa Thiong'o who is set to be honored by a group of US black writers in New York over the weekend.

Jambonewspot.com-Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o is set to be honoured at this year’s National Black Writers Conference (NBWC), to be held in New York.

Mr Ngugi who is a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine, will be presented with the W.E.B. Du Bois Award during  the event which will take place on March 29, 2012 through April 1, 2012 at the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York.

The writers are holding their 11th annual conference and this year’s theme is “The Impact of Migration, Popular Culture, and the Natural Environment in the Literature of Black Writers.”

Each conference has built upon the previous one celebrating outstanding Black writers through the world.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is a recipient of eight honorary doctorates, a fellow of the Modern Language Association, and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The National Black Writers’ Conference examines the historical representation of the literature of Black writers and the representation of new and future directions for contemporary and emerging literary voices.

The  Conference has addressed the themes of stereotypes in Black literature, the direction of Black literature, the renaissance in Black literature, access and expanding conversations on race,identity, history and genre.

Ngugi is currently working on the second book of  his memoirs: In the House of the Interpreter.

Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | 1 Comment »

Kenya authorities shoot dead 6 suspected poachers

Posted by Administrator on March 28, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya—Kenya Wildlife Service rangers shot and killed three suspected poachers in a national park in the latest in a series of poacher killings amid a rise in elephant deaths, an official said Wednesday.

KWS spokesman Paul Udoto said the organization has “re-energized” its efforts to stop the poaching of wildlife, especially elephants, who are hunted for their ivory tusks.

Rangers shot and killed three suspected poachers on Tuesday in Tsavo East National Park. Last week rangers shot and killed another three suspected poachers near Mount Kenya.

Udoto said six KWS rangers have died in the line of duty since December, a record high in such a short period. Udoto said the ranger deaths will not be in vain and KWS is determined to make poaching “a high-cost, low-benefit activity.”

“We are determined to give them their day in court, but these people are heavily armed and are determined to kill not only our wildlife but our rangers,” he said.

A recent fire on Mount Kenya, the country’s tallest mountain, revealed how poachers are resorting to dangerous techniques to kill elephants.

Robert Njue, a KWS official in charge mountain conservation, said the fires which consumed 10 percent of Mount Kenya’s forest were likely started by poachers to create a diversion from their illegal attacks on animals.

Wildlife activists say illegal ivory smuggling in Africa increased after the 2007 temporary lifting of a ban by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It allowed a one-off sale by African countries that had stockpiles of ivory from elephants that had died naturally or problem elephants killed by wildlife officials

Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were granted a one-time exemption from a global ivory ban because of their thriving elephant herds.

Patrick Omondi, an elephant expert at KWS, blames China’s growing footprint in Africa for the recent surge of elephant deaths.

Omondi said there has been an increase in poaching in Africa as a result of the sales, which spurred a demand for ivory tusks in China and some countries in Southeast Asia where they are smuggled to make ivory ornaments.

In 2007, Kenya lost only 47 elephants to poaching, Omondi said. In 2008 — the year the sale took place — Kenya lost 145 elephants. In 2009, 271 elephants were killed and 187 were killed in 2010. Kenya lost 278 elephants last year.

The elephant populations of many African countries were being decimated until a global ban on the ivory trade was implemented in 1989. Since then the elephant population of Kenya is estimated to have grown to 37,000 this year, from 16,000 in 1989. The increased number is still lower than the estimated 167,000 elephants that roamed Kenya in 1973.

Kenya’s elephants are an important tourist draw and fall in the category of star wildlife attractions in the country known as the big five. The other four are leopards, lions, rhinos and buffalo.

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2012/03/28/kenya_authorities_shoot_dead_6_suspected_poachers/

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