Three of the suspects had their cases withdrawn. Two accused will remain in custody until their bail hearing later this month.
MBOMBELA – Five suspects appeared in the Graskop Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with the poaching of seven rhinos from the Ohrigstad Nature Reserve in Pilgrim’s Rest, Mpumalanga, in November 2014.
According to a media declaration issued by the SAPS, the five suspects were arrested recently, almost five months after aight rhinos went missing from the park. Seven carcasses of the missing rhinos were found with bullet wounds and their horns had been removed. The other rhino is still unaccounted for.
On Monday, the Organised Crime Unit received information about the whereabouts of a suspect.
Assistance of the National Intervention Unit (NIU) led the police to another suspect. These two suspect pointed to the whereabouts of a third suspect, who was arrested.
Another suspect was arrested and the four led the police to the house of a man they claimed had supplied them with the firearm which they used to kill the rhinos. This led to a fifth arrest.
“This man was also arrested and he was found in possession of an illegal shotgun,” the SAPS’ Brigadier Hlangwani Mulaudzi confirmed.
“Two of the suspects also confessed to killing another two rhinos in the Pretoriuskop area of the Kruger National Park in November 2014,” Mulaudzi added.
“The five suspects appeared in the Graskop Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 18 March 2015, and three of the suspects had their cases withdrawn. The two remaining suspects Moses Mahole (27)and Nichol Nkata (47) are still in custody and their cases have been postponed to 26 March 2015 for formal bail application.”