Pretoria – The Hawks arrested five suspected rhino poachers in Mpumalanga almost five months after eight rhinos went missing from the Ohrigstad Nature Reserve in Pilgrim’s Rest, Mpumalanga, in November 2014.
Seven carcasses of the missing rhinos were found with bullet wounds and their horns were removed, while the other rhino is still unaccounted for. One suspect was arrested for poaching the rhinos.
On Monday, another breakthrough was made when the Organised Crime Unit received information about the whereabouts of another suspect. With the assistance of the National Intervention Unit (NIU), the suspect, who led the police to the third suspect, was arrested.
The two suspects pointed out where the other two suspects were and the quartet led the police to the house of a man they claimed had supplied them with the firearm which they used to kill the rhinos. The man was also arrested and he was found in possession of an illegal shotgun.
Two of the suspects also confessed to killing another two rhinos in the Pretoriuskop area of the Kruger National Park in November 2014.
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appeared in the Graskop Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 18 March 2015, and three of the suspects had their cases withdrawn.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.