ANOTHER alleged poacher was shot dead by police in the Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi region on Friday.
According to the police, the suspected poacher was killed in an exchange of gunfire after a group of four men opened fire on police who were tracking them in the national park, where elephant poaching has become a growing problem in recent years. The latest killing follows that of two suspected poachers in the same park in December 2016.
Two of the men were also wounded in the shoot-out, while a fourth member of the group escaped injury and was arrested.
He made a first appearance in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court yesterday on charges of possession of a firearm without a licence, entering a national park without permission, and illegally hunting on government property.
Titsu Musiliwa, a 61-year-old resident of Omega 3 in the Bwabwata National Park, said in court that he and his companions were taking a rest while looking for honey when the police started shooting at them. He denied that they had opened fire on the police.
Musiliwa was denied bail by magistrate Vincent Nzaca. His case was postponed to 27 April for investigations to be concluded, and to give him time to apply for legal aid. According to the police incident report, police officers were following suspicious footprints which environment ministry officials had found at Omega 3 when they came across the suspected poachers, who allegedly started shooting at them.
The four suspects fled when the police officers retreated. The police caught up with them again near the Angolan border, and in the ensuing exchange of gunfire, one of the men in the group was killed and two wounded.
The two wounded men were at first treated at the Rundu State Hospital, before being transferred to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital in Windhoek. The names of the deceased and wounded have not been released yet.