A man was shot dead, another wounded, and six others arrested when police foiled two rhino poaching attempts in Limpopo on Sunday, a spokesman said. Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the incidents occurred on Rietvley Farm in Polokwane and Welgevonden Farm just outside Modimolle in the late afternoon. "The man was shot at Rietvley Farm after he and his four accomplices allegedly failed to heed police instructions to surrender," Hangwani said.
He allegedly pointed a R5 automatic rifle at police who then retaliated with gunfire. Another suspect was shot in the buttocks and taken to hospital, under police guard. Three others then surrendered. "In Welgevoden Farm, two suspects, one who is an employee of the Limpopo provincial government, were cornered by police, and laid down their arms without any resistance," he said.
During both operations, police managed to recover a police issued R5 automatic rifle with 34 live rounds, a silencer, a Toyota van, two axes, and a .307 rifle with a silencer. The alleged poachers, excluding the Limpopo government employee, were Mozambican and Zimbabwean nationals, who were residing in Tembisa and Soshanguve townships in Gauteng.
Limpopo Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Amon Mashigo said: "I hope this will be a lesson to other poachers that police are serious about their work and will not hesitate to protect themselves and arrest anyone including government officials who are fuelling this criminal act." All suspects would appear in the Modimolle and Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.