25 November 2012

South Africa: More Arrests in Klipkopspruit Farm Rhino Poaching Incident

Pretoria — Police on Friday arrested two more suspects in Rustenburg in connection with the poaching of eight rhinos at the Klipkopspruit farm last weekend.

This brings to eight the number of people arrested. Three suspects linked to the incident were tracked down and arrested on Thursday night in central Pretoria, Katlehong and Alberton in Gauteng, while three other suspects, one of whom is a game ranger, were arrested in the Lethabing township on Monday.

Last weekend seven rhinos were found dead at the Klipkopspruit farm and another one was found on Monday.

North West Premier Thandi Modise said this was indicative that police were closing the net around the syndicate responsible for rhino poaching and were getting closer to the kingpins.

"Though the network of the syndicate of cruelty and brutality against the rhino as a symbol of our ecology and rich heritage is crumbling, we would be satisfied with nothing less than the arrest of the kingpins behind the evil trade in rhino horns," said Modise.

She commended the Hawks' rhino task team for its determination to clamp down on the scourge of rhino poaching and members of the community for the tip-off that led to this major breakthrough.

The premier reiterated her earlier call to police to intensify the onslaught against syndicates involved in rhino poaching to face the full the full wrath and might of the law.

Modise had earlier this week said that the provincial government was considering requesting the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist it to overcome the scourge of rhino poaching.

She had also said that there is a need to clamp down on issuing of illegal hunting permits as part of intensifying law enforcement and crime intelligence to overcome the scourge of rhino poaching.

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