Kenya Uses Donated Vehicles to Stop Traffickers
As Kenya works to secure its border and stop traffickers, it got a boost in the form of vehicle donations.
The U.S. government has donated 10 Toyota Hilux pickup trucks to investigators with Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Kenyan officials received the vehicles from U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter during a ceremony at the DCI headquarters in Nairobi. They were provided by U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
McCarter said the vehicles were part of the long, friendly relationship between the U.S. and Kenya.
“This is not just one day that involves 10 vehicles,” McCarter said. “This is just one more day and time of a special friendship that has been going on a long time.”
In recent years, East Africa has become a transit point for heroin smuggled from Afghanistan. A 2018 report by Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crime identified overland trafficking routes crossing the Tsavo National Park along Kenya’s border with Tanzania and routes emanating from the port of Mombasa. In the first nine months of 2019, Kenya’s Anti-Narcotics Unit made 1,500 raids and seized nearly 57 kilograms of heroin, 7.9 metric tons of cannabis and other illicit goods, The East African reported.
The donation will help Kenyan investigators respond faster and more frequently in hard-to-reach areas to root out drug crimes and corruption and to battle transnational criminal organizations.
George Kinoti, Kenya’s director of criminal investigations, welcomed the donations, according to Capital News. Kinoti said his office has benefited from the DEA’s help in fighting drug traffickers. The DCI will dedicate five of the trucks to conducting major counternarcotics investigations to neutralize, dismantle, and prosecute major drugs and narcotic-trafficking networks at the national and international levels.
“The United States has been a great partner to the [commission] and the DCI through valuable technical support, collaboration in capacity building through staff training, and invaluable logistical resources to boost our efficiency, especially in cross-border investigations,” Kinoti said.
McCarter praised Kenya’s work to break up corruption and illegal drug operations.
“We know that Kenya is building a democratic and prosperous nation,” McCarter said. “Kenya is going to be the model for how you do things right in East Africa.”