09 Jul 2015 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JUL (NAMPA) The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in June this year arrested 41 people for rhino poaching crimes.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta revealed the figure during a media conference here on Thursday.
The police are still pursuing some cases and there are still some arrests to be made. The operation will continue until all criminals linked to poaching are brought to book, he noted.
Shifeta said syndicates are very sophisticated in their operations, but are known to the police.
Twenty-nine suspects were arrested in areas surrounding the Etosha National Park. Most of them were apprehended in the areas of Onamutanga, Uutsathima, Iitapa and Otyenoa villages in the Omusati Region.
Twenty-two of these suspects have been charged with illegal hunting of rhinos and will appear in the Okahao Magistrate's Court in the Omusati Region on 30 July 2015. The seven others were released due to a lack of evidence, said the minister.
Among the suspects is an Angolan national.
He said a further five suspects were arrested between Warmquelle and Sesfontein in connection with the poaching of one black rhino in the Omatendeka Conservancy on 12 June 2015. Shifeta said a gun and two fresh rhino horns were found in their possession.
Previous poaching incidents are now also coming to the fore and suspects are facing the music, according to the minister.
He said two suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of two rhinos in the Iitapa village in the Omusati Region. Shifeta could not give the date of the arrests, only that the poaching incident took place already in 2008. The suspects admitted to the police that they buried the carcasses.
In a similar incident, two suspects were arrested on Wednesday in the Uis area of the Erongo Region in connection with poaching. The minister only said that the crime took place a long time ago.
In another operation, three suspects were arrested and linked to poaching activities in the Palmwag area in the Kunene Region in the past. Rifles and ammunition were found in their possession.
The ministry will continue working together with NamPol in the investigation of these cases as more information is being revealed, he added.