Police in Samburu have arrested two suspects after they were found in possession of sandalwood, an endangered tree species.
The suspects illegally harvested the sandalwood from Kirisia forest.
Samburu Central Deputy Commissioner, Titus Omanyi said the product remains classified as an endangered species and the law clearly states that no one should trade in it.
“Security agencies in the region have managed to minimize the illegal trade in sandalwood. Security intelligence has helped us to stop the harvesting and trade of the forest product,” he said.
Omanyo said the smugglers have resorted to using luxury sports Utility Vehicles to transport the product from Samburu in order to conceal their illegal activities. He however affirmed that security is on the high.
Local forest supritendant, Geoffrey Okelo, said forest rangers in the region are ready to help curb the illegal harvesting.
“We are guarding sandalwood because it is an endangered tree species because it is currently difficult to find the seeds to grow this tree and it also takes a long time to mature,” he said.
Okelo said the intelligence and security team to come together to protect the tree that is relatively on high demand.
Sandalwood trafficking is a multimillion dollar trade that exploits local communities and leads to deforestation.