Zimbabwe: Poacher's Wife Hangs Self After Police Interrogation

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25 February 2019

Hwange — A Dete woman whose husband is in custody for illegal hunting recently committed suicide by hanging after police summoned her for interrogation, it has emerged.

Christine Mathe, 38, hanged herself from the roof truss of her hut using a piece of cloth on February 16, a day after the interrogation.

This was after husband Alois Savanhu 38, was arrested three days earlier over illegal possession of ivory.

Savanhu was nabbed with three claimed accomplices. They were identified as Ndaba Ncube 27, Fanuel Luphahla 34, both of Chezhou village in Dete as well as Inosencia Siwela 42, from Gwabalanda suburb in Bulawayo.

The four had allegedly been found with 96 kilogrammes of elephant tusks. They were remanded in custody to this Friday by a Hwange magistrate.

According to a ZRP report, Mathe was invited to Dete Police Station for questioning on Saturday February 15.

She then committed suicide the following morning after reportedly telling her children that she was scared of going to jail.

Police had wanted Mathe to lead them to a gun that was used by her husband and his accomplices for illegal hunting.

After initially lying about the firearm to the police, Mathe later confessed that she had given the weapon to a neighbour on her husband's instruction.

The gun was recovered from the community cemetary where it had been hidden at her mother-in-law's grave.

"Police and rangers went to Savanhu's homestead on February 13 to recover a gun used for poaching," a ZRP report indicated.

"They found a Honda Fit vehicle with a broken rear window, and upon being asked, Mathe told police that some children had smashed the window.

"An informer tipped police that Mathe broke the window to remove the gun after her husband instructed her to do so.

"Mathe later confessed to police that her husband had sent her a text message over the phone instructing her to give the gun their neighbour Claude Shoko."

On 15 February, police questioned Mathe and released her on condition that she supplies them information on Shoko's whereabouts.

She however, hanged herself before the following day.

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