Ricochet News

Zimbabwean nationals nabbed in crackdown against rhino poaching

Aug 3, 2018
Zimbabwean nationals nabbed in crackdown against rhino poaching

Police efforts to track, trace and arrest suspects involved in illegal wildlife trade and wildlife crimes have intensified and are bearing dividends.

"Six suspects, aged between 25-30 years, were apprehended during a well-coordinated, multi-discipline crime fighting operation are appearing at the Grahamstown Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of unlicensed firearms and possession of ammunition," said police spokesperson, Colonel Sibongile Soci.

"The suspects were arrested on Tuesday, at about 16:00, during a joint operation dubbed as Operation Full Moon, between Peddie and Grahamstown, two km outside Grahamstown.

"It is alleged that the suspects’ vehicles were stopped and upon investigation and during a search of the vehicles a 375 calibre rifle, nine rounds of ammunition and a large sum of money, two knives, two axes and nine cellphones were confiscated from both vehicles."

He said that all the suspects are Zimbabwean nationals and the investigation continues to ascertain if they cannot be linked to other rhino poaching incidents in the province and/or country.  

Eastern Cape SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, commended all the members involved in the operation.

“Significant progress had been made by specialist detectives assigned to tracking down rhino poaching syndicates. Our benchmark case of the Ndlovus has resumed in the Grahamstown High Court and the suspects linked and arrested to the poaching incident at Wildschutsberg Game Reserve in the Stormberg mountain range near Komani (formerly Queenstown) are appearing in court again today. This is an indication that we are committed in turning the tide on illegal wildlife trade,” said Lt Gen Ntshinga.

Operation Full Moon is a synchronized operation comprising of the Provincial Stock Theft Unit, Provincial Hawks, Grahamstown Highway Patrol and private Anti Rhino Poaching Units, aimed at combating crimes like Stock Theft and illegal movement of stock and protection of endangered species.