Zambian air force officers nabbed with rhino horn - wildlife authority

2016-05-20 12:01
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Lusaka - Two members of the Zambian Air Force have been arrested at a shopping mall in Lusaka in possession of a pair of rhino horns, Zambia's state wildlife authority has announced.

Flight Sergeant Masheke Mutemwa Chripine and Captain Mwiya Masheke were due to appear in court on Wednesday along with two other suspects, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife said in a statement. One of the suspects was from Namibia.

The horn weighed 3.9 kg, according to the authority. The men could face up to 25 years in jail if convicted.

News of the arrests was being celebrated across the border in north-western Zimbabwe, where rangers, safari operators and the security forces were upping their fight against what was now a growing cross-border trade in rhino horn and ivory. 

Zambia's deputy tourism minister last month said that Chinese ivory trafficking syndicates were sending Zambian poachers into Zimbabwe. 

The Matusadona Anti-Poaching Project (MAPP) posted to Facebook: "Well done to our colleagues in Zambia for their fine achievement."

The Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit (BHAPU) commented: "Let's hope this will continue to impact on what has and continues to be a major thorn in our sides - the illicit passage of rhino horn and elephant ivory through Zambia to destinations facilitated by the 'fat cats' of this underworld."

At least six poachers believed to be Zambian nationals have been shot dead in Zimbabwe so far this year, according to Zimbabwe's privately-owned Standard newspaper in a report published at the end of April.

Read more on:    zambia  |  zimbabwe  |  poaching  |  southern africa

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