Monday 14 March 2016

Namibia: Police arrest five for rhino and elephant poaching

The police arrested five people in three different regions on Saturday for poaching rhino horns and elephant tusks.

One man was arrested in Kavango East for possession of elephant tusks, while two men were arrested in Opuwo for possession of rhino horns. Two more suspects were arrested in Khomas Region on suspicion of poaching rhinos, the police said yesterday.

The four poaching suspects, two from Windhoek and two from Kunene, will appear together in the Katutura Magistrate's Court this week.

The latest arrests bring to eight the number of people arrested this year in connection with poaching, or being found in possession of rhino horns and elephant tusks.

Last year 22 people were arrested for poaching, or being in possession of rhino horns and elephant tusks, according to police statistics.Twenty-nine carcasses were found in the Etosha National Park and five at Palmwag/Klip River since January.

Last August Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta questioned the conduct of prosecutors who recommend bail for suspected poachers, while crucial investigations are still ongoing. Shifeta said it is frustrating for law enforcement officials, who are working tirelessly to nab poachers, when prosecutors propose bail for suspects: "We've arrested a lot of people, including a police officer in Windhoek. I understand the police officer was given bail of N$25 000 and I asked why he was given bail. The prosecutors are supposed to deny bail. I heard they proposed bail on two occasions."

At least half the World's population of black rhinos live in Namibia (2000+ in Namibia).

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