National 16.8.2016 11:55 am

Poacher out on bail sneaks into Kruger again, gets killed

File photo: AFP

File photo: AFP

Russel Mokoena was one of five men accused of poaching a baby rhino at Care for Wild Africa Rehabilitation Centre.

An accused rhino poacher was recently shot and killed while allegedly attempting to poach again in the Kruger National Park (KNP). He was out on bail at the time.

Russel Mokoena was one of five men accused of poaching a baby rhino at Care for Wild Africa Rehabilitation Centre, Lowvelder reported.

His co-accused Messrs Thokozane Jabulane Ngwenya, Kenneth Alex Mthombothi, Promise Mandla Lamula and Lenox Ngwenyama, appeared in the Regional Magistrates’ Court without him last Wednesday. The men face various charges related to rhino poaching.

Two of the accused, Ngwenya and Mthombothi, were working at Care for Wild at the time of the incident.

The baby rhino, Sabi, was brutally mutilated and killed after he was rescued when his mother was poached in Sabie Sands in August 2014. His front legs had also been chopped off.

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, in conjunction with the police’s organised crime unit, conducted a thorough investigation. Sabi’s little horns were allegedly sold for R34 000 to a Chinese national.

An informed source told Lowvelder that one of the suspects had allegedly said Sabi had not even tried to get away from them on the night that he was poached.

The doomed animal actually approached them, having known Ngwenya and being used to humans.

“It was like shooting a dog that had been eating from your hand,” the source said.

The case was postponed, until August 30, for a provisional court date.

– Caxton News Service

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