Suspected poachers' case postponed

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
By: 
Dumisile Masuku

Mbombela - Two Mozambican nationals accused of rhino poaching have been remanded in custody.

Madala Mhlanga, 20, and Alberto Makhubele, 45, were not asked to plead to charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, trespassing and illegal possession of rhino horns when they appeared in the White River Magistrate's Court on Monday.

They were arrested at the Kruger National Park's N'wanetsi section in the central part of the park.

"The search for the suspected poachers began after reports of shots being fired and the discovery of two fresh white rhino carcasses with their horns removed," said Kruger Park spokesman William Mabasa.

"During the operation, the task team came into contact with a group of suspected poachers and were able to arrest two suspects while three managed to escape back into Mozambique."

Mabasa also commended the work done by the joint security forces, whom he said risked their lives on a daily basis to protect South Africa's heritage.

The operation, Operation Rhino Task, is made up of rangers, SANParks Environmental Crime Investigation, South African Police Service and the South African National Defence Force Borderline Control Unit.

"We are very saddened by the number of rhinos that are being killed. At the same time, we are confident that we are going to turn the tide against rhino poachers," said Mabasa.

The two poachers are expected to appear in the White River on December 5 for a formal bail application. - SAnews.gov.za

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