16 Namibians nabbed for wildlife crime

By June 9, 2020Antipoaching
Arlana Shikongo, The Namibian | June 4, 2020

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Seven new cases of wildlife crime were registered during the last week of May, the weekly wildlife crime report reveals.

The report, which is jointly compiled by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s intelligence and investigations unit and the protected resources division of the Namibian Police, detailed that the seven cases saw the arrest of 16 suspects.

All those apprehended are Namibian nationals.

Of those arrested, 11 were in connection with rhino poaching or trafficking, two in connection with elephant poaching or trafficking, two for the hunting of giraffe, and one for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act.

Among the wildlife products seized were six rhino horns, two elephant tusks, two giraffe carcasses, two firearms, two vehicles and 17 rounds of ammunition.

According to the report, the two suspects from whom the giraffe carcasses were seized “failed to present a permit with the required information after hunting specially protected game”.

This incident took place at Kamanjab.

Among the group of suspects listed in this report was preacher Jackson Babi, who was arrested last week after two rhino horns were allegedly found at his house in Windhoek’s Kleine Kuppe neighbourhood.

He was arrested with co-accused Frizans Naululu Dumeni last week Wednesday.

Earlier this week, The Namibian reported the state is alleging Babi and Dumeni possessed or dealt in two rhino horns at Babi’s residence on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, and that the horns are linked to the poaching of two rhinos found dead and dehorned in the Gobabis area on Tuesday last week.

Furthermore, when initially sharing information about Babi’s arrest, environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda revealed an investigation of a poaching incident led detectives to Otjiwarongo, where a covert operation was carried out, and two rhino horns were found in possession of four suspects who had offered to sell the horns to an undercover police officer.

The four men, including a member of the police’s Very Important Persons Protection Directorate, were arrested, Muyunda said.

The report also revealed that two wildlife crime cases reported in December were finalised last week.

All the suspects involved received partially suspended sentences.

A case at Okahandja, in which four Namibian suspects were charged with conspiracy to hunt specially protected game (rhino), were found guilty.

One suspect, Sylvanus Shikambe, was acquitted, while his three co-accused were sentenced.

One suspect, Kandje Ngumbi, was sentenced to a fine of N$80 000 of which N$40 000 was suspended, or imprisonment of 150 months of which 87 months were suspended.

The other two suspects, Kunouwa Tjambiru and Lubasi Mufaya, were both sentenced to a fine of N$58,000 of which N$29,000 was suspended, or an imprisonment of 108 months of which 66 months were suspended.

The second case that was finalised involved three suspects who were arrested at Okahandja – also on charges of conspiracy to hunt rhino.

“Riatoorora Ndiaombe and Uapenduka Tjatjitiruaije Ndiaombe were both sentenced as follows: Fine of N$100,000 of which N$50,000 was suspended or to an imprisonment of 144 months of which 96 months were suspended. Both were declared unfit to possess a firearm.

“Uatenguainja Ngumbi was sententenced as follows: Fine of N$55,000 of which N$27,500 was suspended or to an imprisonment of 48 months of which 24 months are suspended,” the report reads.