The Herald (Harare)

12 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Rangers Kill Poachers, Recover Weapons of War

National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers have killed two elephant poachers in the Dande Safari Area in Mbire north of Guruve and recovered weapons, among them mortar bombs.

Motor bombs are weapons of war and it is yet to be established why the poachers had such dangerous arms of war.

Items recovered include three mortar-bombs, one 3008 calibre hunting rifle, one 3008 spent cartridge, three live 3008 rounds of ammunition and six pairs of elephant tusks weighing 51,4 kg valued at US$12 850.

Parks public relations manager Ms Caroline Washaya Moyo on Monday said the two poachers killed were from Mashumbi Pools.

The other three poachers ran away.

"Our rangers had a contact with poachers which resulted in the death of two armed poachers from Mashumbi Pools in the Usanga Usanga hunting camp area of Dande Safari Area.

"Rangers observed a human spoor of five suspected poachers in the park and quickly made a follow up and it was during a contact that the two armed poachers were killed.

"The killed poachers are Andrew Mapfumo and Last Stephanie from Mazambara Village in Chief Chitsungo's area.

"In a bid to cover their tracks the poachers started a veldfire as they left the park," she said.

One of the deceased Andrew Mapfumo is a known poacher who has been involved in elephant poaching since 2005 and was convicted and served a custodial sentence at Guruve and Bindura prisons.

Meanwhile, another suspected Zambian poacher was shot and killed in Katombola, Hwange National Park last Saturday. Four others escaped through the Zambezi River. Parks rangers also recovered two rifles, 14 rounds of ammunition and food with Zambian labels.

"Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority continues to warn would be poachers that their efforts will be thwarted and the above cases should serve as a warning to those who are financing poachers that they are engaging in risky business," Ms Washaya-Moyo said.

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