A SUSPECTED wildlife poacher in Gwayi, Matabeleland North province, died of suspected poisoning while detained at Dete Police Station, with police saying they suspect he could have drunk the poison on his way to the station.
BY DARLINGTON MWASHITA
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the incident yesterday, but declined to disclose the deceased’s identity, saying his next of kin were yet to be informed.
“We are not sure when the man drank the killing substance, but he did not drink it in police custody,” Makonese said.
“The man could have drunk the substance on their way to the police station and we are not sure when he consumed it, as others escaped. He died as soon as the officers arrived with him at the police station.”
Indications are that on May 27, police and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers had arrested several suspected poachers in Gwayi.
Some of the poachers escaped from police custody while being led to the police station and the officers remained with the now deceased.
“On detaining him, the police officers told the man to stay close to his exhibits. This is when he used the opportunity to drink cyanide, a deadly substance that killed him instantly in police custody,” a source said.
“We are worried as members of the community about the matter. How can this happen in the presence of police officers? Was it the negligence of police officers or the deceased taking chances on them?”
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo could not be reached for comment yesterday.