48 rhino poaching suspects arrested since June: NamPol

14 Aug 2015 10:20am
WINDHOEK, 14 AUG (NAMPA) – The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)'s Anti-Poaching Unit has since June this year arrested a total of 48 people for alleged rhinoceros poaching crimes.
Furthermore, about 22 of those arrested have appeared in the Okahao Magistrate's Court in Omusati Region during the month of July this year, while an unspecified small number of suspects were released, pending further police investigations into their cases.
NamPol's Deputy Inspector-General for Operations, Major-General James Tjivikua revealed this in a media statement availed to Nampa here on Friday.
Tjivikua added that the majority of suspects were arrested in farming areas surrounding the Etosha National Park and villages in the Omusati Region, which are sharing borders with the Etosha National Park.
“All 48 suspected poachers were initially denied bail when they appeared in the Okahao Magistrate's Court in July 2015 and all were remanded in police custody with no option to post bail. However, some of the suspects brought formal bail applications before court and were eventually granted bail,” said Tjivikua.
According to him, so far, the police confiscated a total 66 rifles that were used by the suspects in the commission of the poaching crimes. These rifles were already sent for ballistic examination and the ballistic results linked some of the confiscated firearms to the crimes.
“In the Etosha National Park, I have visited the officials of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, as well as members of the Namibian Police Force's Anti-Poaching Unit deployed at the park. They are all well and vigilant. My next step is the visit to Palmwag Conservancy areas as per programme,” explained the senior police officer.
In addition, Tjivikua also took the opportunity to call upon the general Namibian public to continue providing information pertaining to rhino poaching activities to NamPol, as such information will be treated with a high degree of confidentiality.
Tjivikua has also revealed the police is now offering a reward of N.dollars 60 000 to any person or persons for reliable information that would lead to the arrest of persons involved in rhino poaching activities across the country.