Eight suspected rhino poachers between the ages 19 to 40 years have been arrested by the South African Police Services (SAPS) in three different provinces, police said on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the police who have been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga as part of Operation Rhino arrested the eight suspects in the past seven days for possession of firearms, hijackers, conspiracy to poach and possession of rhino horns.
“The suspects were found in possession of seven firearm (two pistols and hunting rifles), 45 rounds of ammunition, a hijacked vehicle, hunting knives and axes.”
The suspects were arrested in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, Phalaborwa in Limpopo and Skukuza in Mpumalanga.
Mulaudzi said the members of Operation Rhino who comprise of forensic experts, detectives, the National Intervention Unit, Crime Intelligence and the Tactical Response Team effected these arrests during intelligence driven operations in the national parks and the areas next to these parks.
“All of the eight have already appeared in the local Magistrate’s Court in Skukuza, Mhala, Hluhluwe, Mkhuze, Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit and their cases were postponed to different dates for bail application and further investigations,” said Mulaudzi.