School head found with 25kg elephant tusks
POLICE have arrested two men, one of them a headmaster at a school in Tsholotsho, for illegal possession of elephant tusks weighing about 25kg.
Thokozani Mafikela (43), a headmaster at Makhaza Primary School but residing in Bulawayo’s Lobengula suburb and Nicholas Ndlovu (22) of Silongwe Village under Chief Siphoso in Tsholotsho appeared before Hwange resident magistrate, Ms Rose Dube charged with illegal possession of ivory.
Ms Dube did not ask them to plead and remanded them in custody to September 5 for trial.
The duo was arrested last week following a sting operation to flush out people in possession of elephant tusks.
The raid was a reaction to an increase in poaching activities at Hwange National Park which stretches to Tsholotsho.
The prosecutor, Ms Loveness Maseko said on 17 August this year police officers teamed up with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority investigators after receiving information that Mafikela was selling elephant tusks.
“Reacting to the information that two elephant tusks were in Ndlovu’s custody they proceeded to Silongwe Village in Tsholotsho together with Mafikela, pretending to be buyers,” said the prosecutor. “They used Mafikela to flush out Ndlovu who came out of the homestead carrying an elephant tusk, ready to finalise the deal. It is then that the team identified themselves before arresting the two.” Police, the court heard, recovered two elephant tusks with a total weight of 24.5kgs with a street value of $1 102 at the estimated price of $45 per kilogramme.