Today, two rhino poachers appeared before the Skukuza Periodical Court facing charges of rhino poaching, attempted murder, possession of an unlicenced firearm and ammunition. Their appearance stems from an incident which took place yesterday, at approximately 05:00, at Skukuza Game Reserve.
It is alleged that a ranger who was on duty heard a gunshot and called for back-up. When his colleagues arrived, they combed the area and came across two rhino carcases which appeared to have been just killed recently at that time.
They intensified their search after the discovery and managed to track down the poachers who were just a kilometre away from the carcases.
Information at the police disposal suggests that the rangers were met with a barrel of a gun pointing at them and were forced to retaliate, where after one suspect was fatally wounded.
When the rangers cornered the remaining two suspects, they (rangers) discovered that one of them Bongani Thabethe 26-year-old, sustained a scratch wound which apparently was grazed by a shot fired by the rangers. The third suspect, Skhumbuzo Ndlovu 21-year-old, was arrested unharmed and Thabethe was taken to the hospital for medical attention, where he was treated and discharged on the same day.
Both suspects, Ndlovu and Thabethe were remanded in custody until 21 January 2015, for further investigation.
A 458 hunting rifle, together with 5 spent cartridges, an axe and 2 rhino horns were seized.
Media enquiries: Brigadier Selvy Mohlala 071 353 6955
Media Statement from Mpumalanga Media Centre
Source : South African Police Service