Eight rhino suspects arrested

Eight suspects, allegedly on their way to poach rhino, were arrested during three separate incidents over the weekend of 12 – 14 August.
At Dwaalboom on Saturday rangers on a game farm found unfamiliar tracks and called for assistance from Heritage Protection Group (HPG), the Limpopo Rhino Task Team and the Police. The tracks were followed and three suspects were arrested. A 416 hunting rifle, with a silencer, nine rounds of live ammunition and an axe were found in their possession. No rhinos were killed. According to a member of the Limpopo Task Team, the three suspects are all from Mozambique. They are Anton Makubele (26), Titos Molambu (32) and Sydney Makubele (33). They appeared in court earlier this week.
At Hoedspruit three more suspects were arrested in their vehicle after members of a special Rhino Task Team received information on their suspected movements. They were apprehended and a 416 hunting rifle, ammunition and axe and knives were recovered in their possession.
In the early hours of Monday morning, 15 August, members of the same team arrested two more suspects when they were stopped in the Klaserie area of Hoedspruit. A hunting rifle and ammunition were recovered from them.
The suspects will appear in different courts on charges of possession of unlicensed fire arms and ammunition as well as conspiracy to commit rhino poaching.
At Bela-Bela on Friday a 41 year old man from Mozambique, Moses Moyane, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for the shooting and dehorning of a rhino in the Bela-Bela area on 21 March 2015. He was arrested shortly after the incident and remained in custody until his sentencing.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in the province Lt Genl Nneke Ledwaba welcomed the arrests and the sentencing and stressed that this shows the intensity and urgency displayed by members of the dedicated teams not only to prevent incidents from occurring but also to ensure maximum periods of sentencing for arrested suspects.

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