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Five rhino poachers have been sentenced in the Skukuza Regional Court last week.

On different days, sentences ranging from 16 years to 18 years were handed down to Sam Nyagumbi Thobela, Ezekiel Solomon Mafuyeka, Simon Salomon Mhlangu, Morris Paul Chauke and Sam Jack Maluleke.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said Thobela and Mafuyeke, who were each given 16 years in prison, entered the Kruger National Park’s Malelane section on 30 January 2020. Their intention was to hunt rhinos for the purpose of obtaining their horns.

“The rangers then noticed some strange tracks in the park which immediately alerted them to intruders. The two accused were traced with the help of a tracker dog then apprehended where they were found with two rhino horns, as well as one rifle which did not have serial numbers, six cartridges and an axe.”

The other three were arrested after they shot and wounded white rhinos inside the Kruger National Park.

When the field rangers heard gunshots, they swiftly responded and were able to capture the three accused. They also discovered that the accused were in possession of a large calibre firearm as well as ammunition, an axe and some bags.

“The wounded rhinoceros, which was also hacked with an axe on the back, was found closer to the scene where the accused persons were apprehended.”

Image credit: The Times

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