Two suspected poachers from Mozambique pleaded guilty in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Friday to entering South Africa illegally, but denied poaching rhino.
Andelino Mukwebe and Jeremano Tive face charges of entering the country illegally, entering the Kruger National Park without a valid permit and of killing a white rhino.
KNP rangers arrested them in possession of two fresh white rhino horns and an axe in the N'wanesi section of the park on January 19. "I was on my way to the place of gold in Johannesburg to look for a job," Mukwebe said in an affidavit.
"We know it is against the country's law to enter without a legal permit. I plead not guilty to entering the KNP illegally, killing a white rhino and dehorning a second white rhino," he said.
Tive presented a similar statement before magistrate Edward Hall. An SA National Parks field ranger, who could not be named to protect his identity, testified that the rangers received a call around 9 in the morning on January 19.
"We were told that shots were heard and there were suspected poachers around the Mjokwane section of the KNP. "On arrival at Mjokwane, we discovered that two suspects had already been arrested. We were then instructed about a second scene at N'wanesi section of the park."
There the rangers followed the fresh spoor of three people and a wounded rhino. More....