Four Kruger staff accused of rhino poaching to stay behind bars

2012-03-02 00:00

WHITE RIVER — The four Kruger Park staff accused of rhino poaching are still behind bars.

Doctor Mgwenyama (33), Duncan Mnisi (34), Charles Mabunda (29) and Tiyene Mabunda (25) appeared briefly in court yesterday.

Lawyer C. Khoza, appearing for Mgwenyama, Mnisi and Tiyene Mabunda, alleged his clients had been assaulted by investigators when they were arrested in order to obtain confessions.

Moments later Khoza said his clients deserved bail because they had co-operated fully.

The four were arrested on Tuesday, hours after tourists on a game drive saw the carcasses of two rhinos near Napi rock, about 17 km from the Pretoriuskop camp.

Prosecutor Isabet Erwee asked for a postponement to allow the state to complete its investigation.

She said police found bloodstains in the Kruger Park vehicle driven by Mgwenyama, a park traffic officer.

Blood-smeared bullet casings, R30 000 in cash and a bloodied uniform were found on other accused, she said.

Police are still searching for the rhinos’ horns and the R1 rifle used to shoot the animals.

Mgwenyama’s wife, also a park traffic officer, complained outside court about journalists photographing her husband. She declined to give her name.

The case was postponed until March 8 and the accused will remain in the police cells at Skukuza.

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