ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers have shot and killed two suspected elephant poachers in Mushumbi Pools in the Dande Valley, a senior official confirmed yesterday.
Report by Moses Matenga
The suspects — Andrew Mapfumo and Last Stephanie — were allegedly shot after slaughtering six elephants recently.
“Investigations reveal that Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Rangers observed a human spoor of five suspected poachers in the park, and quickly made a follow up and it is during a contact that the two armed poachers were killed,” Zimparks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said.
“The other three poachers ran away and items recovered included one 3008 calibre hunting rifle, one 3008 spent cartridge, three live 3008 rounds and six Pairs of elephant tusks weighing 51,4kg valued at $12 850 and three mortar-bombs.”
Washaya-Moyo added that the poachers started a veld fire in a bid to cover their tracks after leaving the park.
“Mapfumo has been involved in elephant poaching since 2005 and was convicted of elephant poaching and served a custodial sentence at Guruve and Bindura prisons,” she said.
Their bodies were taken to Guruve Hospital where a post mortem was conducted on December 3.
They were buried on Wednesday last week.
It is understood that the poachers were killed when they were having lunch and according to their relatives, who condemned Zimparks rangers for the killing, the suspected poachers were shot at
close range when they had not resisted arrest.
Relatives of the deceased who spoke to NewsDay said they were not happy with the way their relatives were killed and post-mortem results did not indicate their cause of death.
Meanwhile, Washaya-Moyo said a suspected Zambian poacher was also killed in Katombola, Hwange National Park, on Sunday while four others escaped.
“Two rifles, 14 rounds of ammunition and foodstuffs with Zambian labels were recovered. Much as we are resource-constrained, rangers are more than willing and ready to bring the country’s conservation efforts back on track,” she said.