Jacaranda FM News | November 25, 2019
South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced the arrests of five suspected rhino poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP)’s Malelane Section in an intelligence-driven operation over the weekend.
According to SANParks’ Ike Phaatla, the suspects were in possession of five fresh rhino horns, a high calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.
The vehicle they were travelling in has also been impounded for further investigation.
“The arrests followed the discovery of two fresh rhino carcasses in the section and were covered with grass and twigs to delay their discovery,” says Phaatla.
“The Section Ranger immediately deployed his rangers around the area to look for possible vehicles that might be ferrying the suspects.”
Phaatla explains that a suspicious kombi with two visible passengers and three others, who were hiding, appeared not far from where the carcases were discovered.
The permit in their possession was for two persons and the Ranger became more suspicious when he saw three others hiding out of sight.
“He then instructed the driver to come out with hands in the air and to open the rear door which exposed the other passengers whom he loudly instructed to lie on the floor with the driver.
“He then handcuffed all three and quickly proceeded to arrest the fourth suspect who then pointed out the fifth suspect, whose gun was pointing at the Section Ranger, but failed to pull the trigger.”
The Section Ranger then called for backup after effecting, the arrests.
The suspects are in custody and SANParks is not ruling out further arrests. They will appear in court to face rhino poaching related charges in due course.