By Peter Matambanadzo
Police have so far arrested 12 people involved in the cyanide poisoning of at least 100 elephants in Hwange National Park, with some of them having already been handed jail terms by the courts. Of the suspects, 10 were arrested a few weeks ago, while two were taken in on Sunday, following the discovery of 10 more elephant carcasses and recovery of 11 pieces of ivory.
The suspects, Normal Ncube (18) and Akim Masuku (26) both from Chezhou communal lands located between Magoli and Dete just on the boundary of the mega national park, are being held at Dete Police Station.
The suspects were apprehended after the police together with the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officers raided a homestead in Chezhou.
Their accomplice, believed to be an ex-soldier and has been identified as Fanuel Luphahla, is on the run.
Hwange police officer-in-charge Chief Superintendent Ben Antonio said they expected to account for all the suspects soon.
"The net is closing in on the suspects," he said. "More arrests will be made as we make follow-ups on the suspects."
Parks spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the arrest and said investigations were under way.
Police recovered an army uniform and a pack of cyanide when they raided the homestead where the ex-soldier fled.
Part of the ivory recovered on Sunday worth over US$15 000 was stashed close to the crime scene, while the other loot was hidden near a railway line which runs through Hwange National Park. More....