Poachers gang nabbed after massive manhunt
FOUR suspected poachers were arrested at a boundary fence between Hwange National Park and Tsholotsho after shooting and wounding two elephants.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers rushed to Vulashaba, Sipepa Area, after hearing eight gun shots on Sunday at around 8PM. They found the elephants but the poachers escaped. An operation involving the police and rangers led to the arrest of the suspects.
One was arrested on Sunday night and the rest were arrested the following day.
Police identified the suspected poachers as Felistino Shate (33) of Kwenda village, under Chief Mazungunye in Bikita, Charles Sibonga (30) of Village Kambanjo 2, under Chief Simchembo in Gokwe, Collen Luphahla (27) of Farm 202 Copper Queen, Chief Nembudziya in Gokwe and Dubai Luphahla (34) of Siagwela village, under Chief Munenyonga Chitekete, in Gokwe as well.
Sources at the game park said rangers teamed up with the police, arranged patrol vehicles and mounted roadblocks to hunt down the poachers on Sunday.
They said on the same night, they managed to apprehend one of the suspects whom they found near Mlevu School junction. They continued to search for the other three whom they caught up with on the following day.
“One of the suspects drove a White Mitsubishi Pajero with Registration number ADM 3018, while the other two were on foot. Police discovered elephant spoor and spots of blood which indicated the wounded animals were close by. Two wounded elephants were discovered in the game park around that area,” said the source.
“The poachers were found with a .458 rifle with erased serial numbers, a dry elephant’s tail, a pocket knife, an axe and a pair of farmer shoes among other items.”
The source said the rifle was stashed in a bag which was buried in a pit at the game park.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of the four suspected poachers.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to confirm the arrest of four accused persons on September 4 in Hwange for game poaching,” he said.
Chief Supt Nyathi said Parks and Wildlife rangers were on patrol when they heard gun shots.
He warned members of the public against engaging in poaching. -@winnie_masara
The four suspected poachers