Ellanie Smit, The Namibian Sun | January 15, 2020
A total of 18 suspects were recently arrested for wildlife-related crimes, of which 15 suspects were nabbed in connection with rhino poaching or trafficking cases.
According to statistics released by the intelligence and investigative unit of the environment ministry and the protected resource division in the safety ministry, five new wildlife crime cases were opened.
The information, from 5 to 10 January, indicates that six rhino horns and two pangolin skins were seized as well as two firearms, 17 bullets and three vehicles.
In Ondangwa, two Namibians were arrested on 5 January for being in the possession of a pangolin skin.
Matheus Kaandala and Joseph Hilongwa Jermia were charged for contravention of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act.
In another incident on 6 January at Otjiwarongo, another Namibian was arrested for being in the possession of a pangolin skin. Eliaser Sem was also charged for contravention of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act.
At Epukiro Post 3 in the Omaheke Region, Herold Ngavee Hangara was arrested on 6 January for conspiracy to hunt a rhino, while on 8 January, Tobias Murenga was arrested in connection with the same case.
Both men are Namibian and were charged for contravention of the Nature Conservation Ordinance Act, illegally hunting specially protected game and for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act.
Meanwhile at Oshivelo, four Namibians were arrested on 8 January for contravening the Nature Conservation Ordnance, illegal hunting specially protected game, contravening the Controlled Wildlife products and Trade Act and conspiracy to hunt specially protected game. They were also charged with contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act, illegal possession of a firearm without a licence, entering a game park without a permit as well as theft of rhino horns.
Diognesus Nambili Shivute, Moses Ekandjo, Heimo Tweuya Namweya and Seboron Shivolo Seboron were found in possession of four rhino horns, while a vehicle, one hunting rifle and six bullets were confiscated from them.
Namweya and Seberon are employees at the Oshakati Town Council and were among several people who were arrested last week at Etosha National Park for rhino poaching. They were caught attempting to cut the horns off two rhinos they shot in the park.
The same four suspects were also arrested for an old case with regards to the conspiracy to hunt a rhino and entering a game park without a permit at Omuthiya last October.
Meanwhile last Friday, two more suspects were nabbed in connection with the Etosha conspiracy case. Johannes Pinias and Samuel Afunde Matias received the same charges as the other four suspects involved in the matter. The suspects are all Namibian.
At Okahao, another Namibian was arrested last Friday for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act and illegal possession of a firearm without a licence. Sem Johannes was also charged for trespassing in a game park.
In another incident last Friday, two Namibians were arrested with two rhino horns at Katima Mulilo. Lubbula Tama Hendricks and Zambwe Matengu were charged with contravention of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act and Contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
Also at Katima Mulilo last Friday, four Zambian nationals were arrested for conspiracy to hunt a rhino. Makalo Meki, Junior Sililo, Inonox Sibela and Sheka Vitali were also charged for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act. A hunting rifle and 11 bullets were confiscated.
Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said more suspects are being arrested, which demonstrates the importance authorities according wildlife crimes.
“We have and continue to improve on our intelligence so more and more people will continue to be arrested. We are happy that in the space of one week, 18 suspects were arrested.”