MBOMBELA, SOUTH AFRICA, may 5 — Three suspected rhinoceros poachers, who were arrested in the Kruger National Park (KNP), have been remanded in custody.
Mbongiseni Ngomane, 27, Sisan Manana, 23, and Marikiti Mawelele, 26, were not asked to plead to charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, trespassing and possession of rhino horns when they appeared in the Skukuza Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga Province on Monday.
“The suspects were remanded in custody and they will appear in court on May 20 for further investigation. They were not asked to plead,” Skukuza police spokesperson Warrant Officer Oubas Coetzee said.
Coetzee said the three were arrested in the Stolsnek Sction South of the park last Thursday.
South African National Parks (SanParks) spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said the arrests followed a full month of successful operations in which 28 suspects were arrested in April alone. “The latest arrests bring the total for the year within the KNP to 62 arrests,” he added.
He said during the arrest of the three suspects, rangers using a helicopter and dogs recovered a firearm, ammunition and two freshly chopped off rhino horns.
SanParks chief executive officer Fundisile Mketeni has congratulated the rangers on the recent arrests.
“SanParks, on behalf of all South Africans, wishes to thank our rangers and our partners in the police and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for their dedication to this fight,” he said.
“Sanparks is making every effort to increase support to our rangers in the field: enhanced aerial support and the use of the canine units are both becoming an increasingly vital component of our anti-poaching strategy.”