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MRC deny involvement in illegal ivory trade

Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) leaders have challenged the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to prove remarks linking the movement to ivory smuggling, failure to which they would seek legal redress.

MRC secretary general Randu Nzai Ruwa accused the Cabinet Secretary of using ‘falsehood’ to malign the separatist movement’s name.

“MRC has become the government’s punching bag whenever faces security issues and we are not surprised by Maj Gen (Rtd) Nkaissery’s statement,” Ruwa said.

Kenyan authorities on Friday said they had established a link between the smuggling of poached ivory to Asia and the financing of a Coastal separatist group.

The interior secretary said 14 people had been arrest over a consignment of elephant tusks that was sent to Thailand, and that the cash was destined for MRC.

Said Maj Gen Nkaissery in a statement: “Intelligence gathered so far confirms a growing nexus between poaching and financing and facilitating crime, including terrorism. In this case, we believe that this haul was meant to facilitate the activities of the MRC.”

According to Mr Ruwa the government had formed a habit of implicating the movement for the runaway insecurity without producing ‘concrete’ evidence to support claims.

“We know the government has sinister motive to clump down on MRC leadership and its members by implicating them with the ivory business which we know nothing about,” he said.

Another MRC leader Richard Mwadena said this was not the first time for the secessionist group to be associated with ‘foreign’ acts noting that former Commissioner of Police David Kimaiyo linked to them the Al Shabaab terror group.

TERRORIST ORGANIZATION

“As we are speaking here, the Kaloleni Sub county commissioner in Kilifi County has linked MRC to the rampant pregnancy cases there,” he claimed.

To prove the government was playing politics, Mr Ruwa asked why it had not responded to its April 10th letter written to the newly appointed Inspector-General Joseph Boinett over announcing them as a terrorist organisation.

“In a Kenya Gazette Notice Vol. CXVII-36 No. 2326 of April 7 the government termed us a terror group but when we responded on April 10 they have remained silent to date,” he said.

He called on the government to use the same Kenya Gazette to retract their statement.

Since the emergence of the MRC in 2010, it has been associated with a string of attacks in different parts of the Coast region over its separatist ideology that the region is not part of Kenya.

However, it has repeatedly denied any involvement in insecurity.

However, Mr Ruwa claimed that some government agencies investigations came up with no clear evidence to linking the organisation to terrorism.

“Unless the government has evidence, it should stop implicating us in insecurity incidents in the country,” he said.