Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-A member of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) air force wing at Karibib as well as a former air force wing member, arrested recently with three other suspects for rhino poaching at Epako Game Lodge, appeared in court.
The five suspects, who were denied bail, are 38-year-old Nangolo Ludwig Ndinelao (NDF) air force wing member; 27-year-old Laban Hamata an employee of the Okorusi Mine at Otjiwarongo who was previously employed by the air force wing; 37-year-old Absalom Fillemon and 35-year-old Edward Nghiyelekwa, both residents of Karibib, and Nepembe Paavo Ndawendwa, a 32-year-old employee of the lodge where the rhino poaching took place.
The sixth suspect, believed to be the buyer, a foreign national, is still on the run.
The five suspects were arrested during a sting operation carried out by the police in Windhoek and Walvis Bay after the carcass of a pregnant rhino, with freshly removed horns, was discovered at the game lodge about 20 kilometres from Omaruru.
According to Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu the police also recovered the weapons used during the poaching as well as some of the proceeds made from selling the rhino horns.
The rhino was valued at around N$600,000, although poachers are said to fetch millions on the thriving black market in illicit animal products, despite the threat of a hefty N$25 million fine for rhino poaching.
The five suspects appeared on Friday morning in the Omaruru court where they were denied bail by magistrate Abel Erasmus Masule.
Their case was postponed to August 22 for further investigations and to enable the five suspects to apply for a lawyer through the Directorate of Legal Aid.