SANParks rangers shoot suspected rhino poacher

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pretoria – SANParks rangers shot and killed a suspected rhino poacher in the Kruger National Park on Saturday morning, according to Limpopo police.

Spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said it is alleged the park rangers noticed three men within the Punda Maria – Boxahuku Mountains at the Kruger National Park and ordered them to stop. The men allegedly shot at the rangers, who then returned fire.

One suspect died at the scene and another sustained gunshot wounds to his left knee and right thigh. The third suspect surrendered and was arrested.  

One hunting rifle with 11 rounds of ammunition, an axe, a knife and three cellphones were confiscated.

The deceased suspect was believed to be wearing a Mozambican soldier's uniform while the other two were apparently dressed in the SANParks uniform.

The wounded suspect is under police guard at an undisclosed hospital while the other suspect is in custody and is expected to appear at the Makhado Magistrates Court soon. 

The surviving suspected poachers are facing a range of charges including rhino poaching, attempted murder, trespassing, possession of an unlicensed firearm and impersonating a SANParks official.

Investigations are continuing to determine the identities of the suspects, said Mulaudzi.

Meanwhile, in a joint operation conducted on Friday, the South African Police Service and SANParks arrested five suspected poachers in the Tshokwane Section of the Kruger National Park.

The five were arrested after two vehicles, suspected of being involved in rhino poaching activities, were stopped and searched.

A .375 hunting rifle, silencer and ammunition and other poaching related equipment were recovered in the operation.

Head of Communications for SANParks, Paul Daphn,e said the successful operation was a clear indication of the cohesive effect of the NATJOINTS initiative in the park and that cooperation and joint operations were essential to defeating criminal syndicates. – SAnews.gov.za

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