10 arrested while ferrying donkey meat to Nairobi

Police on Saturday evening arrested 10 people suspected of illegally slaughtering 15 donkeys and attempting to transport them to Nairobi.

According to the law enforcers, the suspects were transporting the meat to Shauri Moyo Market in Nairobi in two vehicles when they were nabbed at Kwa Kathoka in Makueni County.

Eastern regional police commander Joseph Ole Napeiyan said the suspects admitted that they had slaughtered 15 donkeys, which are suspected to have been stolen.

“On December 30, 2023, National Police Service Officers from Kwa Kathoka Police Post and Makueni Police Station within Makueni County, intercepted two motor vehicles, registration numbers KDB 991U Toyota Fielder and KCK 434M Toyota Wish, loaded with suspected donkey meat,” Napeiyan said.

Arrested are 10 suspects, namely: Antony Kiiru, Samson Kamau, Paul Kabura, Cyrus Nthumbi, Isaac Njoroge, Johnstone Kilunja, Samuel Mwangi, Andrew Kithiki, Carol Makau, and Francis Makau. Preliminary investigations suggest that the donkey meat was on transport to Shauri Moyo Market in Nairobi.

The police visited the homestead where they established that hooves and heads of the donkeys were buried at the said compound.

After an investigation with health officials, the police say 25 skinned heads of donkeys were recovered.

“A multi-agency team of NPS officers and public health officers later visited the slaughter scene and retrieved 25 skinned heads and several hooves of donkeys from a pit within the homestead of one of the suspects.

It was also found out they have been illegally slaughtering donkeys for a while.

The suspects are being held at Makueni Police Station awaiting to be arraigned.

Last week, Police in Emali, Makueni County, arrested a 55-year-old man who runs a business of slaughtering and selling donkey meat.

Police found carcasses of nine donkeys and one live donkey in Kiumone village in Ithumba location in Emali.

In February 2023, the government said it will start inspecting butcheries, hotels and other eateries in the county to ensure people are not eating donkey meat without their knowledge.

It said that the animals are stolen and slaughtered in bushes and their meat stashed in polythene bags before being transported to different eateries.

According to the police, the meat is sold to butcheries in the county as well as in the neighbouring county of Nairobi.

It is alleged that the meat which is packed in steak form, is sold in butcheries and also it’s used to prepare mutura, samosas, and other types of meat pies.

The trade in donkey meat and hide was legalised in Kenya in 2012. Although Veterinary experts say donkey meat is safe for humans, its consumption is yet to gain ground in Kenya.

A report from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) showed that more than 4,000 donkeys were reported stolen over the period from April 2016 to December 2018.

Kenya had in 2016 licensed four donkey abattoirs, which is far more than any other country on the African continent.

In 2021, the High Court lifted a 2020 ban on donkey slaughterhouses, allowing them to resume selling meat and hides to Asian markets.

The high price for donkey hides used in Chinese medicine led to donkey poaching and sparked fears the animals could eventually go extinct.

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