A human skull found in the Kruger National Park (KNP) is believed to be that of a man reportedly killed by an elephant while poaching with his accomplices, Mpumalanga police said.
“The police received information that some men had gone poaching in the KNP on 1 April 2019, when suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them,” Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said in a statement.
“His accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passers-by could find it in the morning. They then vanished from the park,” he said.
Once outside, they reportedly informed a relative of the dead man about their ordeal and police were alerted regarding the incident. A search operation was launched by police and rangers in the mentioned area, whereupon the human skull and pieces of clothing were found.
Subsequent to that, police launched a joint intelligence-driven operation in search of the dead poacher’s accomplices, resulting in the arrest of three men, aged between 26 and 35, within the KaMhlushwa and Komatipoort policing precincts. During the operation, two .375 hunting rifles and ammunition were seized.
The suspects had briefly appeared in the Komatipoort Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, conspiracy to poach, and trespassing.
They were remanded in custody and would again appear in the same court on April 12, pending a formal bail application. An inquest was opened in connection with the dead suspect, Hlathi said.
– African News Agency (ANA)