No mercy for poachers

Anti-poaching police units, reinforced by soldiers, have been ordered to return fire if they are attacked by poachers.

30 December 2016 | Crime

JANA-MARI SMITH



Two more poachers were killed in the north-eastern Bwabwata National Park on Tuesday in a shootout with anti-poaching units, mere weeks after Namibia’s environment minister warned that anti-poaching operations would no longer be “business as usual”.

A third poacher was critically wounded and a fourth arrested. The unit confiscated weapons and ammunition following the shootout.

Less than two weeks ago an anti-poaching unit in the same park shot and killed another poacher who had just gunned down an elephant and fired at the police officers.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta yesterday made it clear that new orders had been given to anti-poaching units two weeks ago, and poachers should know that the police would shoot back if attacked.

“Our units are more than ready to deal with them without mercy. No more business as usual,” he posted on a social media account this week.

He said during this week’s shootout the poachers had started firing at the unit and “our forces responded with decisive firepower.”

Shifeta told Namibian Sun yesterday that the latest incident took place in a forested area of the Bwabwata National Park. The anti-poaching patrol came across the poachers, who immediately started firing at them.

Shifeta said patrols were increased in all national parks and other wilderness areas after a zero-tolerance directive was issued on 15 December.

“We don’t want to hear of any more poaching in our parks or anywhere in the country,” he told Namibian Sun yesterday.

He added on social media that that the new measures were also directed at “foreign nationals who deal in wildlife products or are in possession of contraband wildlife products or who handle local people and entice them to commit poaching.”

Anti-poaching units have been reinforced by experienced soldiers and the frequency of ground and aerial patrols has been increased in areas targeted by poachers.

Shifeta said poaching groups were usually armed with one hunting rifle to shoot at wildlife while the rest of the group were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, “which means they are ready for battle”.

“That is why we have to bring in the special units from the defence force. Because police officers are a peace force … and we have learned that the poachers are geared for battle, so that now we have combined units that can defend themselves.”

He warned that any poacher who “attempts to fire at law enforcement officers who are protecting our wildlife resources will regret it.”

Shifeta said new measures did not mean the anti-poaching units were trigger happy, “but if our law enforcement personnel’s lives come under immediate threat the instruction is loud and clear, they have to invoke the Criminal Procedure Act for self-defence.”

Besides the order to return fire if shot at, anti-poaching units have been instructed to do everything in their power to ensure that firearms in possession of poachers are confiscated.

He pointed out that the AK-47 is an assault rifle used in combat. They are usually acquired illegally and smuggled into Namibia and can be used for crimes other than poaching.

“So that means that they have to disable those poachers … we do not want the poachers to run away armed with dangerous weapons. That is something we will no longer tolerate.”

He warned poachers that there should be no doubt that “our units are well trained with special skills”.

Shifeta emphasised that in addition to intensifying anti-poaching measures on the ground, the police have been given clear instructions to conduct thorough searches at roadblocks. Business or residential properties occupied by Asians will also be searched, with the necessary warrants.

“We are not discriminating as they are alleging … But the statistics show that those in possession of contraband products are mostly Asians and therefore we are basing this on what the statistics show, and applying ourselves according to that.”

Similar News

 

Ondangwa robbers still at large

10 hours ago | Crime

ILENI NANDJATOONDANGWAThe Oshana police have so far recovered over N$92 000 of the N$200 000 stolen from a woman in front the Ondangwa FNB branch...

Massive drop in crime rate

1 day - 03 June 2020 | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK Namibia has recorded a huge drop in the number of serious crimes such as murders, attempted murders and rapes since the coronavirus state...

Cops open N$14m fraud case

2 days ago - 02 June 2020 | Crime

EDWARD MUMBUU JNRWINDHOEKThe police have opened a case against businessman Amos Shiyuka for allegedly defrauding it of N$14.2 million.Official documents seen by Nampa show that...

Three toddlers drown

2 days ago - 02 June 2020 | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThree toddlers drowned this weekend, while a man assaulted his sister with a broomstick.In two of the three drowning incidents, the toddlers drowned in...

Daylight robbers overturn getaway car

3 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Crime

ILENI NANDJATOOMAALALATwo suspects were still at large yesterday after the getaway vehicle four persons used in a robbery at Ondangwa on Friday overturned at Omaalala...

Fishrot investigations far from over

3 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Crime

NAMPA WINDHOEKInvestigations into the Fishrot case are far from complete for the setting of a trial date, because only four out of the nine involved...

Poaching suspects appear in camera

6 days ago - 29 May 2020 | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK Four of the eight suspects arrested in connection with the alleged poaching of two rhino horns near Gobabis appeared in the...

Girl repeatedly raped for years

1 week ago - 28 May 2020 | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Several rapes of minors by adult men, which sometimes stretched over months or years, were reported this past weekend....

Khomas boozers cough up

1 week ago - 27 May 2020 | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEK The number of people arrested for violating alcohol restrictions in the Khomas Region has doubled during stage two of the coronavirus lockdown period,...

Disabled girl gang raped by 12 boys

1 week ago - 22 May 2020 | Crime

Kenya Kambowe RUNDU Police in Kavango East are investigating a case of a 14-year-old disabled girl from Rundu's Kaisosi location who was allegedly...

Latest News

Groupies form human shield around...

10 hours ago | Justice

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKFollowers of self-proclaimed prophet Jackson Babi yesterday formed a human shield around him during his latest appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court. Babi (30)...

Pupils in God's hands

10 hours ago | Education

ILENI NANDJATOOMUNGWELUMEWhile learners at Omungwelume Senior Secondary School squat in shacks due to an incomplete hostel, their principal has placed the situation in God's hands.“They...

Shimbulu wins first round against...

10 hours ago | Justice

ILENI NANDJATOOSHAKATIThe Windhoek High Court yesterday ordered the Oshakati town council not to implement an order by Swapo to replace councillor Katrina Shimbulu.The court also...

Fuel prices expected to remain...

10 hours ago | Energy

Phillepus Uusiku- The association between the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and independent oil producers such as Russia reached an agreement last month to...

Central hospital gears for corona...

10 hours ago | Health

STEFFI BALZARWINDHOEKPresident Hage Geingob yesterday inaugurated an intensive care and isolation ward at the Windhoek Central Hospital, which will be used as part of the...

Heavy is the head

10 hours ago | Opinion

President Hage Geingob will deliver his State of the Nation Address today during what many have described as the gravest time for post-democratic Namibia.If any...

Putting the money where the...

10 hours ago | Economics

Phillepus ­UusikuFuture allocation decisions will depend on the evolution of the coronavirus. Therefore, until a vaccine and treatment become available, health and related sectors will...

Fishrot investigators get more time

10 hours ago | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe State has been allowed more time to complete its investigations into the Fishrot bribery scandal. Windhoek magistrate Ingrid Unengu yesterday refused to set...

Ondangwa robbers still at large

10 hours ago | Crime

ILENI NANDJATOONDANGWAThe Oshana police have so far recovered over N$92 000 of the N$200 000 stolen from a woman in front the Ondangwa FNB branch...

Load More