A Mozambican national has been sentenced to 18 years behind bars after he was caught poaching a rhino in the Kruger National Park in September last year.
The Skukuza Regional Court convicted and sentenced Santos Baloyi, 31, after he pleaded guilty to killing a rhino, trespassing, contravention of the Immigration Act, unlawful possession of a firearm with a serial number obliterated and unlawful possession of ammunition.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority, on 10 September 2022, rangers at the Kruger National Park were doing their routine patrol when they heard gunshots near the Afsaal section.
"They spotted Baloyi, with his two unknown accomplices, Baloyi aimed at the rangers, and they fired shots in self-defence, while his unknown co-accused managed to escape,” NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said.
"The rangers went back to the place where they spotted the trio and found two fresh rhino horns and an axe. Baloyi was subsequently arrested."
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Evidence by the State proved that the firearm found in Baloyi's possession was the same firearm used to kill the rhino.
The Mpumalanga-based court sentenced Baloyi to 18 years imprisonment for the poaching-related offences.