Poachers abandon 22 elephant tusks

Police in Matabeleland North working in conjunction with the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority have launched a manhunt for six suspected poachers who fled after being found in possession of 22 elephant tusks last Saturday.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Siphiwe Makonese yesterday said the six suspects were cornered by two game rangers at Robins Camp in Hwange, but fled, leaving their loot at the scene.

On May 19 at about 7pm, two game scouts patrolling at Robins Camp in Hwange saw six armed poachers, she said. The two scouts who were armed with AK rifles opened fire at the poachers resulting in an exchange of gunfire.

Makonese said the poachers, believed to be armed with .375 and AK rifles, fled the scene firing at the scouts and running along the security road towards Zambezi River, Kazungula, in the north-western direction.

The poachers left 11 pairs of elephant tusks, foodstuffs and clothing, she said.

The police and rangers from Sinamatela and Main Camp have been deployed to look for carcasses in the national park area and also locate the poachers.

Makonese said police would intensify patrols in the area until July.

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