According to provincial police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto, members of the anti-poaching unit of the Organised Crime Unit in the province followed up information about the possibility of a poaching incident. They continuously monitored the movement of the suspects until they apprehended them at approximately 10:00 on 4 June as they were about to enter a farm on which the alleged poaching would have taken place.
“During the arrest, members of the police confiscated three vehicles, a hunting rifle that was fastened underneath one of the vehicles, an axe, as well as ammunition. Three of the suspects are from Mozambique, one is from Zimbabwe and the other three are from South Africa,” Otto said in a press release.
The seven suspects appeared in the Louis Trichardt Magistrates’ Court and the cases against them were postponed until 26 June for a formal bail application. They appeared on charges of the illegal possession of a fire-arm and ammunition and attempted rhino poaching. The seven suspects are Job Tlou (65) from Mpumalanga, Kalu Baloyi (30) from Mocambique, Paulus Nkuna (51) from Mocambique, Boy Shahlangu (43) from Mocambique, Elias Mokgalabone (54) from Phalaborwa, Paul Moyo (28) from Zimbabwe and Jack Makhura (32) from Taaibos. In the meantime, investigations to link the seven to poaching incidents in the Lulekani, Gravelotte and Kruger National Park areas are currently underway.
Limpopo Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Simon Mpembe commended the team for their sterling work and reiterated that the police in Limpopo will fight vigorously to prevent and arrest suspects from killing and dehorning rhinos in the province. Mpembe reminded the community that an award of up to R500 000 can be paid out to any member of the public who can provide information which will lead to the arrest and conviction in court of suspects involved in the act of rhino poaching or dealing in rhino horns.