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Duo gets community service for killing jumbo

Local News
They isolated one elephant from the herd and attacked it with spears and axes.

TWO Hurungwe men who captured themselves on camera killing an elephant using traditional weapons and dogs were sentenced to two years in prison by Kariba magistrate Tapiwa Banda.

The duo Simeon Kezias (23) and Arthur Murimbika (24) was found guilty of hunting or removing any animal or part of the animal in a safari area without a permit.

However, Kezias and Murimbika will do 630 hours of community service at Nyamakate Secondary School after six months was set aside on condition of good behaviour.

Kezias, Murimbika and their accomplice Francis Chigomararwa (30), all from Nyamakate area, were unlucky when a video went viral of them killing an elephant after setting their dogs on it before attacking it using spears and axes.

The elephant was killed in Phundundu Concession on December 8 last year, but the accused’s ringleader Kennedy Godera of Fox village, Nyamakate, is still at large.

Chigomararwa will serve an effective one-year jail term after the courts ruled that he was earlier convicted of killing a buffalo.  

According to court papers, on January 10, police detectives from the Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit and officers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Wildlife Crime Unit, an investigation department under International Anti-Poaching Foundation, went to Phundundu concession area to hunt for the accused.The probe was ignited by a video footage which went viral on social media showing poachers hunting and eventually killing an elephant using spears, axes and dogs.

On December 9, last year and at around 3am, the suspects went into the Phundundu Concession area where the hunting kicked off. At around midday they came across a herd of elephants and they set their dogs on it.

They isolated one elephant from the herd and attacked it with spears and axes.The elephant collapsed due to excessive bleeding from a pierced ear.

Chigomararwa then struck the jumbo several times with an axe on the head until it died. The accused then skinned the elephant and shared the meat before drying it in the forest for easy handling.

They told the court that the video that went viral was taken by Godera using his mobile phone. Police detectives attended the scene and discovered an elephant skull, lower jaws and ribs. The weapons used to kill the elephant and nine dogs were confiscated.

The elephant was valued at US$50 000.

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