Suspected poacher's claims of sexual assault investigated

2015-09-09 13:56
Nielen de Klerk, News24

Nielen de Klerk, News24

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Mbombela - The South African National Parks (SANParks) has denied any knowledge of a police case against Kruger National Park (KNP) rangers accused of sticking a rifle up a rhino poaching suspect's anus.

This comes after the suspect, Santos Ngoveni, 31, originally from Mozambique, reported the rangers brutally assaulted him and penetrated his anus with a rifle when he was arrested in Skukuza on August 30.

However, national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo has confirmed a sexual assault case was being investigated.

"SANParks management is not aware of the sexual assault case opened against its rangers in the Kruger National Park. We view the allegations in a serious light and will assist with any investigation should we be required to," SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said on Wednesday.

KNP spokesperson William Mabasa has previously stated the park's management would await the courts to make a decision.

"The victim and the rangers will present their evidence to the magistrate. Sometimes criminals can fabricate stories when they are arrested," Mabasa said, adding after the court had considered all the evidence and decided on the case, KNP would follow up on the matter.

Meanwhile, Ngoveni's lawyer, Mike Nonyane ,wants the rangers to be charged with rape.

"In terms of Sexual Offences Act, the conduct of the rangers constitutes rape. Therefore, I will write a letter to the magistrate to change the charges to a rape case," Nonyane said, adding a court date had not been decided on.

Ngoveni, who consented to being named despite claiming to be a victim of sexual abuse, is currently being detained at the Skukuza police station where he received medical treatment.

He said he was grateful to be alive.

"I just thank God for my life, I am recovering and the injuries are healing."

He faces charges of trespassing and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and is due to appear in court later on Wednesday for a bail application.

Read more on:    kruger national park  |  sanparks  |  mbombela  |  poaching  |  crime

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