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Seven appear for KNP rhino poaching

Crime & Courts

Phalaborwa - Seven people arrested in connection with rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP) appeared in the Phalaborwa Magistrate's Court on Monday, Limpopo police said.

Milton Mlambo, 33, and Phillip Shitlhangu, 29, appeared on charges of illegal possession of a fire-arm and ammunition, and conspiracy to poach rhino under the National Environmental Biodiversity Act, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

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A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province April 19, 2012. Elephant and rhino poaching is surging, conservationists say, an illegal piece of Asia's scramble for African resources, driven by the growing purchasing power of the region's newly affluent classes. In South Africa, nearly two rhinos a day are being killed to meet demand for the animal's horn, which is worth more than its weight in gold. Picture taken April 19, 2012. To match Feature AFRICA-POACHING/ REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

The matter was postponed to April 16, when they were expected to make a formal application for bail. They remained in police custody.

They were arrested in Gravelotte around 2.45am on Saturday. A hunting rifle, live ammunition, an axe and a panga were seized.

The other five other suspected poachers were arrested outside the KNP in the same area on Friday, Mulaudzi said.

They faced charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Doctor Ngwenyama, 36, was granted bail of R10,000 bail. Thulani Siwela, 28, Given Mashaba, 30, Vusi Matsane, 45, and Robert Sondlani, 38, remained in police custody.

They were expected to formally apply for bail at their next appearance on Thursday.

Sapa

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