South African National Parks (SANParks) – three Rhino poachers from Mozambique were found guilty of illegal rhino hunting.
This just in from our colleague Kevin Beswick in South Africa:
South African National Parks (SANParks) announced today (31 January 2012) that three Rhino poachers from Mozambique were found guilty of illegal rhino hunting at Phalaborwa Regional Court and sentenced to a maximum of 25 years imprisonment each. A fourth suspected poacher died in custody in 2011 after attempting to escape. The three poachers found guilty are Aselmo Baloyi, Jawaki Nkuna and Ismael Baloyi.
According to Dr David Mabunda, CEO of SANParks the accused were arrested on 10 July 2010 in Mooiplaas, Kruger National Park. “They were found with two freshly chopped rhino horns, an assault rifle, a hunting rifle and an axe.” The poachers admitted to camping in the Kruger National Park prior to poaching the Rhinos.
The poachers were found guilty on 4 counts:
1. Illegal hunting of a rhino – 10 years imprisonment with an option of a R100 000 fine.
2. Possession of a prohibited firearm (automatic rifle) – 15 years imprisonment.
3. Possession of a firearm (hunting rifle) – 8 years imprisonment.
4. Possession of ammunition – 15 years imprisonment.
Last year 232 suspected poachers were arrested, of which 26 were fatalities. Dr Mabunda said “the sentencing of these poachers is an indication that as a country we are taking more stringent measures in the fight against rhino poaching. I am glad the sentence is harsher than it has been in the past.”
Issued By : Gabrielle Venter: Manager; Media and Stakeholder Relations
South African National Parks