Sus­pects plead not guilty to poach­ing kudu

...They were al­legedly found hav­ing pre­pared a camp fire at Hlane Royal Na­tional Park.

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Sandile Nkam­bule

THREE men charged with poach­ing a kudu (lis­hon­gololo) at the Hlane Royal Na­tional Park have pleaded not guilty to the of­fence.

They are Sibu­siso Dlamini, Ti­tus Musi and Amos Musi, who ten­dered their pleas be­fore Judge Doris Tsha­bal­ala yes­ter­day.

How­ever, the mat­ter could not pro­ceed as the Crown, rep­re­sented by Ayanda Mat­sen­jwa, is yet to amend the charge sheet and de­fence coun­sel, Ben J Sime­lane, felt that some of the charges that ap­pear in the in­dict­ment had been du­pli­cated. Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, Fana Vusi Mbatha, a game ranger of Ndlovu camp at Hlane Royal Na­tional Park, to­gether with his col­leagues, were con­duct­ing their rou­tine pa­trols when they sud­denly heard gun­shots at Hlane.

Since they are al­ways on the look­out for poach­ers, they pro­ceeded to the di­rec­tion where the sound of gun­shots was heard.

Upon com­ing closer, Mbatha states in the in­dict­ment that they no­ticed four men seated next to a camp fire and a dead kudu next to them while firearms were also placed next to the fire.

Mbatha fur­ther states that he, to­gether with his team of rangers, ad­vanced and ap­proached the four men whom they cornered be­fore they could grab their guns and that is when they tried to run away and one of the sus­pects was shot in the foot and dropped his gun and sur­ren­dered while the oth­ers were also ap­pre­hended.

Mbatha then in­tro­duced his team as rangers and in­formed the sus­pects that they were un­der ar­rest for il­le­gally poach­ing at the Na­tional Park and were sub­se­quently handed over to the Simunye po­lice.

The trial has been al­lo­cated three days.

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