Two arrested in Samburu over illegal sandalwood trade

Written By: Nicholas Kigondu/Josphister Lengarpatei

Authorities in Samburu county are holding two persons in connection with illegal trade in sandalwood.

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The two were arrested after a multi-agency team intercepted their vehicle at Oldonyiro area in Samburu East along the Isiolo-Marsabit road transporting three tonnes of sandalwood worth 12 million shillings.

Samburu central sub county police Commander Alex Rotich said the operation was mounted after authorities received a tip off from members of the public.

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“Our multiagency team along Isiolo-Marsabit road got information about a lorry that was transporting sandalwood, two suspects were arrested after they were found in the lorry and would be taken to court,” he said.

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Rotich urged area residents to partner with security organs in ending illegal sandalwood business in the county.

“We advise people of Samburu to stop cutting down sandalwood and they should report to police if they see suspicious people,” he advised.

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The suspects are expected to take plea in court later on Tuesday at Wamba town in Samburu East.

Experts say the harvesting methods used are highly destructive since the whole plant needs to be uprooted to get the roots, leading to a serious depletion in its numbers.

Sandalwood is listed under endangered species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and is targeted by illegal loggers because of their high demand in the market.

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Sandalwood oil is commonly known for its woodsy, sweet smell and is frequently used as a base for products such as incense, perfumes, cosmetics, and aftershave.

The heartwood of the trunk, main branches and roots contain an essential oil which blends well with many fragrance materials that it has become a common blender-fixative used in numerous perfumes.








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