Rhino poacher who shot at helicopter jailed for 33 years

12 November 2018 - 16:27 By Nico Gous
Patrick Nkuna was arrested in the Kruger National Park in 2015 and sentenced to 33 years in prison.
Patrick Nkuna was arrested in the Kruger National Park in 2015 and sentenced to 33 years in prison.
Image: Daniel Born

A rhino poacher has been sentenced to 33 years behind bars.

SanParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said Patrick Nkuna was arrested in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 2015 during an anti-poaching operation.

"Shortly before the arrest of Nkuna and his accomplices, he attempted to shoot at a SanParks helicopter involved in the follow-up operation," said Phaahla.

Nkuna was charged with 12 counts, including four counts of attempted murder, trespassing in a national park and possession of an illegal firearm. He was sentenced in the Skukuza Regional Court on Friday.

KNP managing executive Glenn Phillips commended the courts for imposing "such a stiff jail term".

"This is a huge victory and deterrence factor in the ongoing anti-poaching campaign. We warmly welcome this ruling as it will provide the much-needed boost to the anti-poaching teams who endure harsh conditions for the protection of our parks."

He added: "Our wish is to see a significant increase in such convictions and for the law enforcement authorities in affected countries to cooperate and work with us to end this scourge."

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