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Poachers kill 14 elephants in Botswana’s Chobe National Park

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Security agents have launched a manhunt for a Namibian tycoon suspected to have brutally slaughtered a number of elephants in Chobe national park. This follows the discovery of 14 elephants by Botswana’s anti poaching unit that were killed recently. Information reaching Sunday Standard indicates that Botswana authorities are currently negotiating with their Namibian counterparts to assist in tracking down a Namibian tycoon believed to have links with the poaching of elephants late last year around Chobe region near the Namibian and Botswana borders.

It is understood that Botswana police have gathered intelligence suggesting that the suspect might be the ring leader of a poaching syndicate that frequently clashes with the country’s anti poaching unit. The poaching syndicate is believed to have a specialised vehicle that is able to travel on water and land and is often used in poaching activities. Detective assistant superintendent Ookeditse Moseki of Narcotics, Fauna and Flora Unit at Kasane police station said, “it is true that we are investigating a case in which about fourteen elephants were brutally killed by poachers and their tusks removed.” He explained that sometime in late October and early November last year they discovered about five dead elephants during routine patrols and became suspicious the way they were killed as their tusks were also removed.

Moseki added that while still searching the crime scene they later found another nine dead elephants. Moseki stated that they became more suspicious because where the elephants were killed was not easily accessible by road or foot but the poachers had managed to reach the area as there were marks that indicated there were poachers around the area. He further stated that they approached the department of Surveys and Mapping to confirm whether where the elephants were found killed was in Botswana or Namibia. “They did confirm that the animals were indeed on the Botswana side. We are not yet sure what kind of transport they used to reach the area but we strongly suspect that they might have used a specialised vehicle that could easily reach such an area,” he said. According to Moseki, the poachers used AK47 rifles and about fifty rounds to kill an elephant as well as axe to remove the tusks. “The act is very brutal as such a weapon is not meant to kill such a huge animal,” he said. There is a certain Namibian suspect whose name keeps on cropping up during our investigations. We are considering joint investigations with our Namibian counterparts but this does not mean he might be the prime suspect until we have made an arrest,” he indicated. Source: Sunday Standard, Botswana

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