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Jumbos land villagers in trouble

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LUPANE — Three villagers from the Masungamala area were yesterday sentenced to 350 hours of community service for skinning a snared elephant.

The trio — Fayineli Tshuma (48), Mpumelelo Khumalo (37) and Mackson Tshuma (54) represented by Tonderai Mukuku — pleaded guilty to skinning the elephant and taking away chunks of meat from the carcass.

Initially, they were being charged with poaching but they insisted they only skinned the elephant after they found it dead.

The three told the court they only admitted to the poaching charges after police forced them to do so.

Lupane magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba convicted them on the alternative charge of skinning the elephant and sentenced them to a wholly suspended 10-month jail term each on condition they performed 350 hours of community service at Phumakanye Primary School in Lupane.

The court heard that on May 4, police acting on a tip-off raided the villagers’ homes and recovered elephant meat and two tusks.

Sanders Sibanda prosecuted.

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