Gun­fight pits cops against poach­ers

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Hazel Hweta

AN anti-poach­ing team com­pris­ing the po­lice, Zim­babwe Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment (Zim­parks) and Forestry Com­mis­sion rangers was on Mon­day in­volved in a shootout with sus­pected poach­ers who had al­legedly killed two ele­phants in Vic­to­ria Falls.

There were no re­ported fol­low­ing the shootout.

Po­lice con­firmed the in­ci­dent that took place in Pan­dama­suwe’s Fuller For­est at around 6PM.

“I can con­firm that a team of po­lice and rangers came into con­tact with sus­pected poach­ers at around 6PM on Mon­day. There was a shootout but no ca­su­al­ties were re­ported,” said the Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Vic­to­ria Falls, Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Jairos Chi­wona. He said in­ves­ti­ga­tions were un­der­way. A ranger who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity said a group of five men ran deaths into the anti-poach­ing pa­trol team near its base.

“One of the poach­ers was armed and rangers fired a warn­ing shot and he fired back. The poach­ers fled in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions and dis­ap­peared as it was al­ready get­ting dark,” said the source.

The anti-poach­ing pa­trol team went back to the area on Tues­day and dis­cov­ered that two ele­phants had been killed.

Rangers al­legedly ele­phant tusks.

In May, two sus­pected Zam­bians were killed in a shootout with rangers in Matetsi. Other mem­bers of the gang fled. There have been grow­ing calls for the use of he­li­copters and drones as well as wildlife track­ing sys­tems to mon­i­tor an­i­mal move­ments in na­tional parks to curb ram­pant poach­ing.

In re­cent years, poach­ers have re­sorted to cyanide poi­son­ing in their crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties. re­cov­ered four

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