The Citizen (KZN) - - News -

Aheroic ranger sin­gle-hand­edly ap­pre­hended a gang of five heav­ily-armed sus­pected rhino poach­ers in the Kruger Na­tional Park (KNP) on Satur­day.

This af­ter an in­tel­li­gence-driven op­er­a­tion in the Malalane sec­tion of the park re­sulted in the ar­rest of five men sus­pected of poach­ing two rhi­nos.

Ike Phaahla, gen­eral man­ager of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the KNP, said they were grate­ful that the ranger was not in­jured dur­ing this brave act.

“We are grate­ful for his brav­ery, but even more grate­ful that no harm came to him.”

He added that the sus­pects were in pos­ses­sion of five fresh rhino horns, a high-cal­i­bre hunt­ing ri­fle, am­mu­ni­tion and poach­ing equip­ment. The ve­hi­cle in which they were trav­el­ling, a kombi, has also been im­pounded for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Phaahla was sad­dened that the ar­rests came af­ter the poach­ers had al­ready killed at least two rhi­nos, rather than be­fore, when they could have been stopped be­fore fir­ing a sin­gle shot.

“The ar­rests fol­lowed the dis­cov­ery of two fresh rhino car­casses. The dead an­i­mals had been cov­ered with grass and twigs to try and hide them from sight and de­lay their dis­cov­ery,” said Phaala.

The sec­tion ranger im­me­di­ately de­ployed his rangers around the area.

“He spot­ted the kombi with two vis­i­ble pas­sen­gers and three oth­ers who were hid­ing not far from where the car­casses were dis­cov­ered.”

When con­fronted and stopped, the driver pro­duced a per­mit for two peo­ple. The ranger in­structed him to get out of the ve­hi­cle with his hands in the air, and opened the rear door to ex­pose the other armed pas­sen­gers.

Ac­cord­ing to Phaahla, the ranger then loudly in­structed them to lie on the ground next to the driver. He hand­cuffed three and while ar­rest­ing the fourth, that sus­pect then pointed out that a fifth sus­pect had his firearm aimed at the ranger.

“For­tu­nately he failed to pull the trig­ger and the sec­tion ranger was able to call for backup.”

The sus­pects are in cus­tody and SAN­Parks is not rul­ing out fur­ther ar­rests. – Cax­ton News Ser­vice

Pic­ture: Reuters

Emer­gency per­son­nel work at the site of a col­lapsed build­ing in Durres fol­low­ing Tues­day’s earth­quake that shook Albania.

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