Pastor in dock for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit illegal hunting

2019-06-05 17:56
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A senior pastor at the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church, which is led by embattled self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri, appeared in a Limpopo court on Wednesday.

It is alleged that he is a member of an illegal poaching syndicate in Limpopo.

Pastor Nicolus Mgiba, 45, together with Bento Mendose, 44, and Zalcbrel Baloyi, 28, were arrested on Monday night.

They appeared briefly in the Hoedspruit Periodical Court on Wednesday on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit illegal hunting.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the accused were arrested after a Limpopo police joint operation and members of the Farm Watch received information about an alleged poaching syndicate driving around Hoedspruit.

Ngoepe added that when the men saw the police, they fled in their vehicle and the police gave chase.

During the chase, they were allegedly involved in a shootout with the police.

Mgiba, Mendose and Baloyi were found in possession of weapons and ammunition similar to those used by poachers.

Police recovered a hunting rifle, a silencer, four rounds of live ammunition, a knife and an axe. The vehicle the accused were travelling in was also confiscated.

Ngoepe said they have launched a manhunt for a fourth suspect who was travelling with the accused. The suspect managed to flee on foot.

"Our investigations are at a sensitive stage. Judging by the weapons recovered, investigators might connect them to other illegal poaching cases," added Ngoepe.

The matter was postponed to June 12 for a formal bail application.

Read more on:    crime  |  poaching
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