GABORONE: Three suspected elephant poachers of “sensitive” identities have been arrested in an operation that led to the recovery of five elephant tusks and the impounding of a vehicle that was used to transport them at the Matusadona National Park in northern Zimbabwe.

The arrest on Sunday night capped a busy weekend for the “Black Mamba” elite volunteer counter-poaching unit, following the arrest of two other men for the illegal capture and possession of a live pangolin on Friday night.

The Matusadona Anti- Poaching Project (MAPP) said yesterday that because of unspecified “sensitivities”, it could not reveal the identities of the three men or the vehicle impounded from them.

However, it said they would face charges of elephant poaching and the illegal possession of ivory when they appeared in court soon.

“This afternoon (Sunday), some significant arrests of suspected ivory poachers have been made with the recovery of five elephant tusks and arrest of three individuals and a vehicle impounded. Due to the sensitivity of the people and vehicle involved, there is little more that can be disclosed,” MAPP said.

On Saturday, the Black Mambas had arrested two men, including a self-proclaimed prophet and recovered a live pangolin that was being kept in an improvised plastic container.

“Last night, the Black Mambas infiltrated a group of poachers who were trying to sell a pangolin that had been kept in a plastic container for some days. After a short fight with the poachers, two were arrested, including an individual who says he is a prophet,” the group said.

The two were due to appear in court yesterday to face charges of illegal capture, translocation and possession of a live pangolin. Last month, the Black Mambas arrested nearly 30 poachers, including Zimbabwean and Zambian citizens, for wildlife crimes committed at Matusadona National Park and fish poaching on Lake Kariba. – ANA