11 people arrested in connection with rhino poaching
Law enforcement officials have arrested 11 people in connection with the June poaching incidents where 11 rhinos were killed, Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said on Saturday.
In a statement Muyunda said, all the arrests and confiscated items are suspected to be linked to the recent rhino poaching incidents in Etosha National Park.
“In response to the recent discovery of carcasses of poached Rhinos in Etosha National Park, Law Enforcement efforts were intensified and through intelligence-driven operations and investigations, 11 arrests were effected in four different incidents in regions adjacent to Etosha,” he said.
The joint operation confiscated items such as two vehicles, five rifles, ammunition, axes, knives as well as cash found in the possession of the accused persons during their arrests, Muyunda said adding that these items are subject to in-depth investigations to establish positive links with the carcasses discovered in the Etosha National Park.
All the 11 accused persons are remanded in custody and their cases were postponed, for further investigations, Muyunda added.
The suspects are charged with four different rhino poaching-related crimes, he stated.
According to statistics from the ministry, a total of 22 rhinos have been killed by poachers this year with half dying in June.
Muyunda also announced the arrest of two Angolan male suspects in Okahandja on Sunday after they were found in possession of a live pangolin. The suspects offered to sell the pangolin to an undercover law enforcement official.
“The operation was carried out by the Blue Rhino Task Team, Protected Resources Division of the Namibian Police, and MEFT. Suspects are yet to be charged before appearing before the Okahandja Magistrate’s Court,” he said.
The pangolin was taken in for rehabilitation and will be released in the wild soon.