BINGA — Three men on Thursday appeared in court for poaching elephant and possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Lenard Katsande (48), Obert Chamunorwa (35), both of Chitekete in Gokwe, and Maposa Munkuli (69) of Siabuwa, Binga, appeared before Binga magistrate Stephen Ndlovu who remanded them in custody to March 22.
Katsande and Chamunorwa pleaded not guilty to the charges while Munkuli pleaded guilty to illegal hunting.
The court heard that on February 21 this year, the three connived to hunt at Russbroom Safaris in Binga.
They allegedly went into the safari area armed with a .303 rifle loaded with 20 rounds of live ammunition. Katsande was said to be the kingpin in the operation.
They reportedly killed an elephant worth $20 000, removed its tusks and took away a large chunk of the carcass.
Police in Binga received a tip-off from the public about the alleged poaching and raided Munkuli’s home where they recovered five kilogrammes of elephant meat.
Munkuli reportedly confessed he hunted the elephant with his colleagues.
Police later arrested Chamunorwa and Katsande who then led them to where they kept the rifle.
The gun was recovered with 18 rounds of live ammunition.
Elephant poaching is reportedly rife in Binga with reports police recently discovered five dead jumbos without their tusks.
Last month, 12 elephants were found dead, again without tusks, but no arrests have been made.
In remanding the three in custody, the court took into consideration such reports and instructed the police to investigate if the three were linked to those cases for prosecution purposes.
Bruce Maphosa prosecuted.