Four alleged poachers caught in two separate incidents in KNP this week

Two men were caught on Monday, April 18, while another two were arrested on Tuesday April 19.

Four men, alleged to be poachers, were arrested in different sections of the Kruger National Park earlier this week. In a statement, provincial police spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, said the first incident was on Monday at around 12:00.

Field rangers patrolling the Houtboshrand Section of the Kruger National Park spotted human footprints.

Mohlala said the rangers, along with two tracker dogs, found and cornered the two men, identified as Raydon Zitha (24) and Ernesto Zitha (27), and the Skukuza police were then called. They were charged with the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

More charges may be added as the investigation continues. “The pair was found with a hunting rifle with its serial numbers filed off, eight rounds of ammunition, as well as an axe,” said Mohlala in the statement.

He said the investigation also revealed the men are Mozambican nationals and entered South Africa illegally. They now also face charges of being in contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa.

They were remanded in custody by the Skukuza Regional Court until their formal bail application on May 4.

Meanwhile on Tuesday at around 12:30 field rangers in the Tshokwane Section of the park also found human footprints.

They too used tracker dogs and found two men, Maxiyi Hlungwana (33) and Khensani Chauke (26), who were arrested by the Skukuza police.

The two were found in possession of a hunting rifle, four rounds of ammunition and an axe. More charges may be added as the investigation proceeds.

The two suspects are also from Mozambique and had illegally entered South Africa. A charge of being in contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa was added.

Hlungwana and Chauke appeared in the Skukuza Regional Court on April 20 and were remanded in custody until their formal bail application on May 4.

The provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has acknowledged with appreciation the relentless efforts by field rangers in the fight against poaching, and their collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.

“We are very happy and content with the successes that we have been getting with regard to poaching and we hope that the court will do justice to these suspects,” she said.

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