Three alleged Rhino poachers shot dead
12/06/2017 03:00:00 Stories by Samukelisiwe Ginindza
Three men suspected to be rhino poachers were shot and killed on Saturday at Hlane Royal National Park.
The men are said to have before their death exchanged fierce fire with the Royal Swaziland Police (Lukhozi Unit) and Big Game Parks rangers deep within the park.
Two of the killed alleged poachers are believed to be from South Africa.
Police Chief Information and Communications Officer Khulani Mamba confirmed the death of the three suspected poachers after an exchange of gunfire.
“It was a joint operation between the Royal Swaziland Police and Big Game Parks after we responded to a tip-off about a possible poaching scare at the national park and they were found deep inside the park when the fire exchange began,” Mamba said.
He added, however, that the identities of the deceased persons have not yet been confirmed.
“We can confirm however that no rhino was harmed during the process, the Royal Swaziland Police and Big Game Parks managed to save the rhinos as they acted on the tip off earlier, so we outsmarted them,” he added.
The bodies of the deceased are currently kept at an unknown mortuary.
“A high powered hunting rifle, axes, a saw, and other items known to be used in poaching rhinos were recovered on the scene,” explained Mamba.
Mamba applauded the operation for going smoothly, without any of the ‘good guys’ being harmed.
Mamba confirmed that even though there was an exchange of fire between the police, game rangers and the three alleged rhino horn poachers, they are lucky that none of them was hurt, as it could have been worse.
“Since they were also shooting at us, the situation could have been worse, so we applaud a swift way of fighting crime, without either of those rebuking rhino poaching hurt in any way,” he said.
He added that the gun found in the three alleged poachers’ possession is a 303, which also had undisclosed number of live rounds of ammunition.
Country concerned - Liz Reilly
The Big Game Parks’ Liz Reilly stated that the country is concerned with the looming of rhino poaching in the country.
She was responding to the matter of three suspected poachers who were shot and killed while at Hlane Royal National Park on Saturday.
“With the escalating levels of rhino poaching occurring mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Provinces in South Africa, as well as seizures of rhino horn consignments internationally, Swaziland is extremely concerned that such practice may take root,” she said.
Reilly added that the country is doing every effort to ensure that rhino poaching remains curbed. “The country must keep the rhino poaching levels to a minimum to avoid Swaziland’s small rhino population from being poached out,” she added.