Alleged rhino poacher kills himself

A man who was facing rhino poaching charges shot himself dead on a Musina farm, Limpopo police said today.

Lieutenant Colonel Ronel Otto said Tom Fourie (51) committed suicide yesterday evening.

Fourie, from a farm in the Musina district, shot himself on a hill near the farmstead.

He was arrested a few weeks ago after being accused of selling 36 rhino horns to Jan Karel Pieter Els (37).

Fourie allegedly dehorned the rhinos.

Both Fourie and Els were out on bail and were due to appear in court again on January 28 next year.

More than 20 people have been arrested countrywide in separate cases involving rhino poaching since September.

At least 210 rhinos have been killed for their horns since the beginning of the year – up from a total of 122 poached last year.

Black-market demand for rhino horns has risen sharply as economic growth has spread through east and south-east Asia, where the horn is believed to have medicinal properties.

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