The sandalwoods that detectives from DCI impounded on Thursday in Baringo County. Four suspects were nabbed in the operation [Photo, Courtesy]

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on Thursday arrested three suspects who were found with over 500 kilogrammes of sandalwood at Kaput village in Baringo County.

DCI said it nabbed four suspects among them a 17-year-old boy with the endangered trees.

The other include Peter Kiprotich, Victor Kipruto and Hillary Kemboi (aged 18-19 yrs).

They are in police custody pending arraignment.

Cases of illegal and haphazard harvest of the trees which are used to make perfumes are rampant in the country.

The police have nabbed several suspects with the trees, which former President Mwai Kibaki banned its harvesting through a gazette notice on April 4, 2007.

Due to their value, Sandalwood fetches high prices in the market, which has led to over harvesting.

This has raised concerns among environmentalists that they will be extinct in a few years.

Sandalwood tree
A sandalwood tree [Image, Courtesy]

According to the Standard Digital, prices for the product range between Sh200 and Sh300 per kilogramme depending on the day’s demand.

The media reported that efforts to protect the endangered trees is being hampered by cartels composed of politicians, administration and security officials.

“The cartels have made it almost impossible to bring the illegal trade under control, making extinction of the endangered plant a near certainty” it said.


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