Suspected rhino poachers remanded in custody

07 Sep 2016 12:10pm
OTJIWARONGO, 07 SEP (NAMPA) - Four men arrested outside Otjiwarongo last Friday for suspected rhino poaching, were on Monday remanded in custody by the Omaruru Magistrate’s Court.
David Chihinga Kalwizi, Ndala Mukisi, Franco Mapulanga Liswaniso and Brian Mandjolo were arrested some 27 kilometres south of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Kalwizi and Mukisi are Zambian nationals, while Liswaniso is a Namibian and Mandjolo is an Angolan.
The four men were on Monday remanded in custody by Omaruru Assistant Magistrate Esegiel Goraseb, who did not ask them to plead.
They face charges of illegal hunting of special and protected game, and possession of firearms and ammunition without licences.
The case was postponed to 30 November 2016 for further police investigations.
Public Prosecutor Taimi Efraim represented the State in the matter.
Spokesperson of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Otjozondjupa Region, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha said the police had closely monitored the movements of the four men, which led to their eventual arrest.
Mbeha explained that the men were suspected to have hunted and killed a black rhino for its horns at the Erindi Game Reserve in the Omaruru District in the Erongo Region last Thursday.
She said members of the Police’s Serious Crime Unit combined with Otjozondjupa-based police officers made the arrests.
Mbeha explained that preliminary police investigations indicate that the men had killed a rhino and took its horns to Okahandja for safe keeping, and then returned to their camp inside Erindi.
They however fled the camp on foot after realising they were being followed by law enforcement officers.
The men only managed to get as far as the T-junction between Otjiwarongo and Okakarara, where the police unexpectedly set up a roadblock to capture them.
Several axes, knives, camping equipment, rifles and unlicensed ammunition were found in their possession.
Mbeha added that the two large rhino horns which were hidden at a house in Okahandja were also retrieved.
Police investigations continue.