By George Sanzila
Four men charged with illegally hunting a protected waterbuck at Masikili made a routine court appearance before the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Masikili is situated 67 kilometres outside Katima Mulilo and borders the Chobe National Park in Botswana teeming with game. The four were caught red-handed with a carcass of a waterbuck which they concealed in the boot of a taxi in the early hours of Monday. Monday's operation involved members of the anti-poaching unit of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism who stopped the taxi that drove with its lights switched off to avoid detection after dark.
The fifth suspect, believed to have been an innocent passenger, has since been released from custody and was not charged. The four suspected poachers were identified as Brian Mbala (34), Collins Nyambe (18), Pedro Pangula (22) and Obby Simataa (28). Mbala is believed to have been the 'real poacher' with Nyambe as his accomplice. Simataa is alleged to have been the driver of the taxi in which the waterbuck carcass was concealed in the dead of night with Pangula as his other passenger.
Their case was remanded to October 07 and each of the suspects was asked to pay bail of N$1 000. The five men were arrested by alert environment wardens on a routine patrol in the area adjacent to the Chobe National Park, home to thousands of wild animals that at times cross into Namibia in search of better grazing. Masikili is one of the villages that border Botswana along the shared Chobe River, a resource from which many residents draw their livelihood. Magistrate Iileni Velikoshi presided over the case, while Esther Jafet appeared for the State.