Limpopo police say they have made a major breakthrough in the fight against rhino poaching by arresting six suspected poachers in Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit.
Police in Hoedspruit tracked the movements of three suspects earlier on Friday who were spotted inside the Kruger National Park.
An all-night search ensued which led to the suspects being spotted in the early hours of Saturday getting into a “pick up” vehicle just outside Lulekani.
Police, who by then had mobilised other units for assistance, managed to intercept the getaway vehicle and arrested three suspects – including the driver.
One known suspect managed to escape and an intense search for him is underway.
The three suspects were found in possession of an unlicensed 3.75 rifle with ten rounds of ammunition and an axe. The vehicle has also been seized.
The three, aged between 58 and 24, will appear at the local magistrate court soon on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm.
In another incident, police in Phalaborwa received information of two suspected rhino poachers who were allegedly up picked after been seen coming out from the Kruger National Park.
Following up on the information, police managed to track their vehicle and with the assistance of Mpumalanga police, the three suspects including the driver were arrested in Acornhoek.
Police managed to seize an unlicensed 303 hunting rifle with ten rounds as well as an axe.
The vehicle was also seized. The three suspects aged between 30 and 57 will appear at the Phalaborwa magistrate court soon on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm.
In both cases police did not find any rhino horns in their possession. However, investigations are underway to ascertain if any rhinos were poached in the Kruger National Park or whether they were on their way to do so.
Coupled with the ongoing investigations, both firearms will be taken for ballistic testing to determine if they were used in any poaching cases as well as the linkages of all suspects to any rhino poaching incidences.