The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Police Nab Poachers, Recover U.S.$ 9 000 Worth of Ivory

Police in Harare have arrested three suspected poachers and recovered 18 elephant tusks worth US$9 000. Border Control and Minerals Unit spokesperson Detective Inspector Douglas Shoko yesterday said the three were arrested over the weekend.

He said Simon Simon (44), Joseph Madziwa (47) and Godfrey Mashafunga (29) were in police custody assisting with the investigations.

Mashafunga and Simon are cousins while Madziwa is a family friend.

"On January 12, 2003, detectives from the Border Control and Minerals Unit, Harare, received some information from a source that some people were in possession of ivory in the city," Det Insp Shoko said.

"Detectives then reacted to the information and came across a white Isuzu KB250 (reg number AAH 1225) parked along Third Street opposite Eastgate Mall."

He said they searched the vehicle.

"They found three male occupants in the vehicle and when they were searching, the detectives found a nylon sack containing 18 elephant tusks stashed behind the seat," he said.

"The three accused confessed that the tusks belonged to them and they had obtained them from Chikata area in Guruve," he said.

Det Insp Shoko said the tusks weighed 30kg. He said any person wishing to deal with precious resources should be licenced.

"I urge Zimbabweans to keep working on with the police, supplying such information without delay," he said.

"Police will not sit idly while criminals steal our precious resources."

The arrest comes hard on the heels of two Harare men who were arrested last Wednesday after being found in possession of a rhino horn, 17 elephant tusks and five pieces of ivory worth more than US$160 000.

The pair, Washington Kangarade (39) and businessman Tendai Mugomeza (38), appeared in court last week and were remanded in custody to today.

They were charged with unlawful possession of unregistered or unmarked ivory.

Kangarade is facing an additional charge of unlawful possession of a trophy of a specially protected animal.

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