HomeLocal NewsTwo more arrested over elephant poisoning

Two more arrested over elephant poisoning


TWO men were yesterday arrested for reportedly poisoning 11 elephants and dehorning them in Hwange National Park between Thursday and Friday last week.


The poisoning of the animals also led to the death of eight vultures.
Although details were still sketchy yesterday, NewsDay understands that security details were closing in on the mastermind who is reportedly an ex-soldier.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the arrest of Normal Ncube (18) and Ackim Masuku (26).

“The elephants were killed last week, but the suspects were arrested today (yesterday),” Washaya-Moyo said. “The police recovered certain pieces of ivory. Six of the tusks were found on the side of a railway line that passes through the game park. Seven tusks were found at the scene of the crime where the elephants died.”

Police officer commanding Hwange Chief Superintendent Benny Antonio confirmed the arrests.

“True, we have arrested two suspects, Ackim Masuku, who is the principal accused in that he was involved in the poisoning of the elephants, and Normal Ncube, who was only involved in carrying the loot,” Antonio said. “We also recovered 13 pieces of ivory following the arrests. The net is also closing in on a third suspect who we believed worked with Masuku in poisoning the elephants.”

Antonio said the police and guards from the wildlife authority had intensified the crackdown on poaching.

“Our colleagues from Parks are even doing aerial surveillance of activities in the park,” he said. “We have increased patrols as we step up the fight against poaching.”

Meanwhile, Chief Siphoso of Tsholotsho, who set-up a committee to collect cyanide poison from villagers in the area, yesterday said there had not been any response to his calls.

“No one is forthcoming so far, nothing has been surrendered yet,” Siphoso said.

The traditional leader held a meeting at the weekend to appeal to villagers to surrender cyanide to his committee that pleaded with a ministerial task force two weeks ago to let them collect the poison.
More than 100 elephants have already been killed through poisoning by poachers in Hwange National Park.

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