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Two Poachers Shot Dead

by AllAfrica.com

PARKS rangers have shot and killed two poachers in Chizarira National Park in Binga. The rangers recovered three .303 rifles, 76 rounds of ammunition, a pair of elephant tusks and fresh elephant meat in the night operation that saw some of the poachers fleeing.

Bodies of the unidentified poachers, suspected to have come from the Sinamuchembo communal lands in Gokwe, have since been taken to a mortuary at Binga Rural District Hospital.

Parks public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo yesterday confirmed the incident, saying the organaisation would not relent in implementing the zero tolerance policy.

"A ranger manning the entrance to the park heard two gun shots about eight kilometres to the eastern side of the gate around 4pm and reported to the main office.

"Our rangers tracked the poachers and had gun contact with them at night, resulting in the death of two poachers and the recovery of guns and ammunition.

"Parks is strongly warning poachers and would-be poachers that the authority has taken a zero-tolerance towards poaching. We stress that anyone who dares cross into parks territory for the purposes of poaching should be warned that the consequences are fatal," she said.

Only one elephant has been killed and the authority is still racking the area.

Meanwhile, a court in Botswana further remanded in custody to April 5, three parks rangers and a forestry company scout for allegedly straying into its territory while tracking suspected poachers.

The incarceration has sparked a diplomatic row between two countries.

George Mathe, Wailos Mungombe, Kudakwashe Goredema and Willas Mukande were on patrol at the Kazuma Pan National Park at the border with Botswana on March 11, when they allegedly strayed into foreign land while tracking poachers' spoor.

On Monday, the four appeared in court in leg irons and Botswana police officers opposed their release alleging that the they are still investigating the case as they view it as a serious case involving arms of war.

The three are being kept under very high security guard and when they came to court they were in leg irons escorted by armed Botswana soldiers.

Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema, yesterday said his ministry had since engaged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the matter.

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