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Three alleged poachers caught in the act and rhino horns recovered

Media Statement
South African Police Service

Office of the Provincial Commissioner of Mpumalanga

Nelspruit:  Three alleged rhino poachers, aged between 23 and 49 were arrested in the Kruger National Park on Friday, 01 July 2022. Thanks to a tourist who reported a strange noise of gunshots in the park. A total of four rhinoceros were allegedly killed by poachers before they were caught by the field rangers.

Reports indicate that on the said day a group of armed intruders sneaked inside the park and later gunshots were heard by a tourist who had visited the park on that day.

The information was escalated to the field rangers and a helicopter was immediately dispatched to the scene where the sound was heard. As the chopper arrived, three men were spotted and captured in possession of a hunting rifle, a silencer, three knives, four mobile phones as well as three bags.

Police at Skukuza were notified about the incident and three suspects were arrested. Further than that, a total of three rhino horns were found next to the spot where the suspects were found. There were also four carcasses of rhinoceros that were discovered during the incident, however the horn on the fourth animal had not yet been removed when the suspects were caught.

Through preliminary investigation it was discovered that the alleged poachers failed to remove the horn as the knife they were reportedly using, was broken. It was further discovered that the three male suspects are from the country of Mozambique and were in South Africa illegally hence a charge of contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa. As the investigation continues, police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges against the suspects who are expected to appear in the Bushbuckridge Magistrates' Court on Monday, 04 July 2022 facing a charge of possession of unlicensed firearm with ammunition, as well as charges related to poaching and illegally entering the park.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has praised field rangers for the excellent work done by apprehending the alleged poachers. "We are adamant that the arrest will serve as a lesson to others that no one can just go to the park and hunt as they wish without any consequences. We hope that the suspects will be dealt with by the court." said the General.


Media Enquiries:
Brigadier Selvy Mohlala
071 353 6955