Rhino poached at Erongo game farm

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Eveline de Klerk

Walvis Bay-It appears the poaching of Namibia’s protected wildlife species continues unabated, despite the threat of a N$25 million fine for the poaching of rhino, after a carcass of a pregnant rhino was discovered on Saturday in the Erongo Region.

Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu said the carcass from which both horns were freshly removed was discovered by farmworkers at Epako Safari Game Lodge, about 20 km from Omaruru in the direction of Kalkfeld.

The carcass itself was discovered about 3 km from the lodge by farmworkers performing their daily activities at the game lodge.

According to Iikuyu, preliminary investigations indicate the rhino was killed about five days before, although the carcass was only discovered on Saturday.

He said at least four poachers were responsible for killing the protected animal, as indicated by footprints found at the scene.

The rhino, Iikuyu said, was valued around N$600,000, although poachers are said to fetch millions on the thriving black market in illicit animal products.

Iikuyu appealed to the public to assist with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Conservationists are concerned about what appears to be an upsurge in rhino poaching after several rhino were reportedly butchered by suspected poachers at Etosha National Park recently.

In other crime-related news from the Erongo Region, a taxi driver in Walvis Bay was arrested late Saturday night and charged with attempted murder after he allegedly shot a passenger in Kuisebmond.

Briefing the media on Sunday, Deputy Commissioner Iikuyu said the 40-year-old taxi driver was due to be brought before the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on a charge of attempted murder today.

According to Iikuyu, the attempted murder suspect was on Saturday night stopped by two commuters in Tutaleni and Seapoint, respectively.

The passengers apparently requested to be taken to town, but on the way, just as they reached the last traffic lights at Kuisebmond the two jumped out of the taxi.

Iikuyu said the taxi driver chased the two passengers, who skipped without paying, until the Pink Sport Bar in Hansina Doeses Street and shot one of them in the right shoulder.

The victim, 29-year-old Linginus Shavuka was admitted to Walvis Bay State Hospital. The driver was arrested on the spot and his licensed firearm was confiscated.

In response, the aggrieved taxi driver has also opened a case of theft under false pretences against the two passengers, as he alleges that he transported them and they failed to pay for his services by absconding.

Iikuyu said the matter would be thoroughly investigated and a docket compiled for a court review.

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