A man has been sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for his involvement in two cases of rhino poaching at the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.
The Skukuza regional court sentenced Mike Nyathi, 40, on Friday.
Police spokesperson Brig Selvy Mohlala said the court imposed the hefty sentence after hearing how he was caught, twice, poaching inside the Kruger National Park.
“It is said that in the first incident, Nyathi and Janeiro Chunguane entered the Kingfisherspruit section inside Kruger National Park on September 17 2017 and began hunting illegally, where they shot and killed a white rhinoceros.
“Field rangers working in the section fortunately heard [the] sound of gunshots and became aware that there were intruders inside the park.
“The rangers then went out to investigate what was happening and they found the two men who were in possession of one rifle without a serial number, an axe as well as a knife.
“The rangers further found a carcass of a white rhinoceros that was killed next to where the two men were found,” said Mohala.
“The men were arrested and charged with trespassing, possession of a prohibited firearm, an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, conspiracy to commit a crime, hunting of protected animals in a national park and possession of a dangerous weapon.”
They appeared in court and were granted bail.
“Chunguane fled to Mozambique and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Police are still looking for him and he is yet to be rearrested.”
In May 2019 Nyathi was caught by rangers after a second poaching incident.
“He was then charged and appeared before court where he was never granted bail until his cases were finalised.
“The accused was convicted and sentenced in relation to the two incidents to an effective 25 years' imprisonment. The accused was also declared unfit to possess a firearm,” said Mohlala.
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