Alleged rhino horn thieves appear

2014-06-09 21:53
Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency

Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency

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Mbombela - Two men accused of stealing 112 pieces of rhino horn were remanded in custody by the Nelspruit Regional Court on Monday.

Ali Gideon Mtshali, 51, and Leonard Sizwe Malatjie, 34, were arrested over the weekend and charged with housebreaking and theft, a Sapa correspondent reported.

The 112 horns, weighing more than 80kg, were stolen from a strongroom at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) offices in Mbombela in 20 April.

The pair were not asked to plead.

The Hawks said earlier that the two were not MTPA employees amid suspicions that the theft could have been an inside job.

The horns had been removed from live rhino in order to protect them from poachers.

Both men's lawyers claimed their clients were forced to confess to the crime. Enos Mazibuko, for Malatjie, said police injured his client and that he needed medical attention.

Magistrate Elize du Plessis postponed the case to 17 June.

Read more on:    mtpa  |  mbombela  |  conservation  |  rhino poaching

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