Five wanted rhino poachers have been arrested during a joint operation by various South African Police Service (SAPS) units in KwaZulu-Natal. Illegal firearms allegedly used in the crimes were seized. Photo: SAPS

DURBAN - Five wanted rhino poachers have been arrested during a joint operation by various South African Police Service (SAPS) units in KwaZulu-Natal, the SAPS in the province said on Saturday.

The arrested suspects, aged between 29 and 52, appeared in the Ngwelezane Magistrates' Court on Friday on charges of rhino poaching. They were remanded in custody until October 11 for a bail application, Lt- Col Thulani Zwane said.

The provincial stock theft and endangered species project team, in conjunction with crime intelligence and the tactical response team, followed up information with regards to wanted rhino poaching suspects at Hazyview in Mpumalanga province.

The police officers were armed with warrants of arrest for the men after they were linked to rhino poaching by means of forensics and ballistics testing.

They were linked to cases reported at Ntambanana and Esikhaleni in KwaZulu-Natal during 2018, where they killed rhino and removed their horns. During their arrests, two rifles were seized, which were suspected to have been used during the killing of rhino, Zwane said.

African News Agency