Anti-poaching rangers attacked in Mozambique

2016-10-17 20:44
Anti-poaching rangers attacked in Mozambique. (IAPF)

Anti-poaching rangers attacked in Mozambique. (IAPF)

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Harare - Attacked with an axe, stabbed with a broken bottle: these are the photos that show the horrific injuries inflicted on anti-poaching rangers in Mozambique.

An anti-poaching patrol was attacked, allegedly by up to 60 people as they tried to take two rhino poaching suspects to a police station near the Greater Lebombo Conservancy, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) said on Monday.

IAPF founder Damien Mander said a township in the area was "known for harbouring rhino poaching syndicates".

Now out of intensive care, the rangers were lucky to escape with their lives. The attack happened earlier this month, although authorities had not publicly confirmed it. This was the first time details had been made public.

Mander said the attack filled him with "deep anger". The rangers had a police escort through the township. When they came under attack, the officers apparently fled.

One of the three rangers was knocked unconscious. Another was struck in the head with an axe and stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle.

An off-duty police officer protected the men and likely saved their lives. They were airlifted to safety. All three were out of danger, but would take some time to recover fully, Mander said.

Syndicates looking to target rhinos in the Kruger National Park were known to operate from Mozambique. To get to the southern part of the park, poachers had to cross the 220 000ha Greater Lebombo Conservancy. This put the conservancy on the front-line of the fight to save the world's rhinos.

"We're not just on the front-line of the rhino wars, we are behind enemy lines," Mander told News24 in a telephonic interview.

In June, the foundation reported that a gang with suspected links to rhino poaching raided a village near the conservancy, targeting the homes of those working in a local anti-poaching team. A number of scouts were injured.

Mander said they had had significant impact in reducing the flow of poachers coming through the area to the Kruger National Park.

“We've taken business away from organised crime."

Read more on:    mozambique  |  rhino poaching

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