Unchecked rhino poaching in South Africa is "tantamount to acts of war" and has escalated "from an environmental issue to one of national security," the Game Rangers' Association of Africa (GRAA) has said.
"Professionally trained and armed militia from Mozambique enter South Africa to plunder the country's natural resources on a daily basis," the GRAA said in a statement available to Xinhua on Wednesday. "These actions are tantamount to acts of war and such actions are putting not only South African citizens at risk but also one of South Africa's economic sectors namely tourism," the group said. It urged the South African government to take a zero tolerance approach to "what amounts to total disrespect of the country's borders".
"We call for an increased South African National Defense Force presence on our borders to maintain their effectiveness in securing the property, economy and citizens of South Africa," said the GRAA.
The South African government, the group said, must address the matter immediately with Mozambique at the highest possible diplomatic levels, with the mandated ministerial departments and to exert severe pressure on the Mozambican government to address the situation.
"The current disregard by Mozambican citizens of the sovereignty of South Africa's borders cannot be allowed to continue. The situation has escalated from an environmental issue to one of national security. It is time to acknowledge this and act accordingly with the full force of the law."
South Africa's rhino hold significant value within the ecotourism industry, the group said. More....