Nine suspected rhino poachers arrested

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Polokwane – Limpopo police on Sunday arrested nine suspected rhino poachers at a private game farm in Lephalale.

“The suspects, whose names and ages are unknown, are from Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The suspects were arrested while they were burning a field inside the farm to lure the animals to a spot where they would then kill the rhinos and dehorn them,” the Limpopo South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement on Sunday.

So far police have managed to confiscate a camera that was allegedly used by the suspects to take pictures of the game farm, rhinos in the farm and the movement of the owners as well as a grinder, generator and two vehicles - a small private vehicle and a small truck with Gauteng number plates.

“The suspects have been linked to another possible rhino poaching case within the same vicinity were a calf was killed two months ago. The same modus operandi of burning a field was used,” the police said.

All suspects are in custody and will appear before the Lephalale Magistrate Court soon, facing charges of Illegal hunting of protected game. Police investigations are at an advance stage to determine the names and ages and of all the suspects.

Meanwhile, two other suspected rhino poachers Steve Mbombi, 21, and Roy Baloyi, 27, from Mozambique were arrested last Friday in the Kruger National Park. During the arrest police confiscated a 458 hunting rifle and an axe. They appeared in court on the same day and their case was postponed to 15 March 2013.  Both suspects are still in custody and police investigations are continuing. –