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Phalaborwa - Five suspected rhino poachers appeared in the Phalaborwa Magistrate's Court on Monday for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, Limpopo police said.

Thulani Siwela, 28, Doctor Ngwenyama, 36, Given Mashaba, 30, Vusi Matsane, 45, and Robert Sondlani, 38, would be back in court on April 2 for formal bail applications, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

The men were arrested in Gravelotte on Thursday night, while allegedly on their way to kill a rhino at a nearby game reserve.

During a search of their car, police found a hunting rifle with its serial number filed off, 20 rounds of live ammunition and three butcher knives.