Manhunt for 3 men who shot, killed ranger Anton Mzimba and wounded wife

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Game Ranger Anton Mzimba has been shot dead.
Game Ranger Anton Mzimba has been shot dead.
Timbavati Game Reserve
  • Three assailants opened fire on game ranger Anton Mzimba, before turning on his wife, shooting her in the stomach on Tuesday night. 
  • They arrived at the Mzimba house asking for help with their VW Polo before the attack.
  • The men fled empty-handed.

Three men have yet to be apprehended after shooting game ranger Anton Mzimba dead, and injuring his wife at their home near Bushbuckridge on Tuesday night.

It emerged on Thursday the men shot Mzimba's screaming wife in the stomach after she saw them shooting her husband. 

She is fighting for her life in hospital.

News24 reported there were claims Mzimba was the target of a syndicate because of his anti-poaching efforts.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said they could not speculate on the motive for the shooting and this would form part of their investigation.

He added the armed men fled the Mzimba home empty-handed.

READ | Game ranger Anton Mzimba had received death threats before his murder

The trio had approached the Mzimba home in Edinburgh Trust on Tuesday at around 19:00, asking for water for their vehicle which they claimed had problems.

The men pounced on Mzimba while a child, who was in the house with the couple, tried to assist them.

He was shot several times before the assailants opened fire on his wife, said Mohlala.

The couple was taken to the nearest hospital but Mzimba succumbed to his injuries.

Police said his wife was in a critical condition. 

The men fled in a white VW Polo and have yet to be apprehended.

READ | New team of rangers to patrol Table Mountain amid increase in crime

Mpumalanga police commissioner Lieutenant-General Semakeleng Daphney Manamela condemned the incident.

"We strongly condemn this barbaric act and we are adamant that it is just a matter of time before we arrest the perpetrators and put them behind bars. Those suspects should be hunted down and be brought to book," she said. 

Mzimba was known and admired by many for his passion for wildlife and strong stance against poaching.

He had worked at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve since 1997, starting out as an erosion fieldworker.

He became a ranger in 1998 after passing basic ranger training, becoming one of the youngest rangers at the reserve.

In 2003, Mzimba was promoted to head ranger. 

Rangers, who worked with Mzimba, described him as a passionate leader dedicated to his work.

The CEO of Game Rangers Association of Africa, Andrew Campbell, said Mzimba's wealth of experience with wildlife commanded the respect of his colleagues. 

"His death has hit the ranger community hard. He is someone that a lot of us looked up to. He impacted a lot of people, even those who never met him.

"He spoke with such passion and you just had to respect what he was about. He had worked as a ranger for 25 years and his skills and accolades were recognised by his colleagues."

Britain's Prince William called on police to ensure that those responsible should be brought to book.

Timbavati's chief operations officer, Krystle Woodward, thanked the public for support and said they were cooperating with investigators.

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