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Suspected poacher shot dead in N Cape

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Two other suspects were also shot and are currently in hospital under police guard.

A SUSPECTED poacher was shot dead from a helicopter by members of the Tswalu Anti-Poaching unit in a police operation near Severn in the Northern Cape on Sunday. Two other suspects were also shot and are currently in hospital under police guard.

The three suspects, together with another suspect who was not injured, were allegedly caught red-handed while attempting to poach following a multi-disciplinary police operation.

The incident happened at approximately 12.15pm on a farm in the Severn area in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District.

Northern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Mashay Gamieldien said a member of the Kuruman SAPS Stock Theft unit requested the assistance of the Tswalu Anti-Poaching unit in tracking unknown footprints discovered on a farm in the area. “According to reports from the farm owner, he has been experiencing incidents of poaching on the farm,” Gamieldien said.

The Tswalu Anti-Poaching unit provided aerial and ground support to the SAPS. Assistance was also offered by Severn and Van Zylsrus police members.

“The members of the Tswalu Anti-Poaching unit, who were in the chopper, noticed four suspects in the veld and relayed the location to the members on the ground. There was an exchange of gunfire between the members in the chopper and the suspects on the ground during which one suspect was fatally wounded, two injured and one uninjured,” Gamieldien said.

She added that the suspects were apprehended and arrested and several firearms and ammunition were confiscated on the scene.

“The injured suspects were transported to a local hospital in Kuruman for medical treatment and will be under police guard until their court appearance.”

Gamieldien stated that the police would be investigating an inquest case as well as illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, trespassing, and contravening the Disaster Management Act Regulations and the Immigration Act as three of the suspects are undocumented immigrants.

“The JTG cluster commander, Major-General Johan Bean, commended the members from the Tswalu Anti-Poaching unit, Kuruman Stock Theft unit, and the Severn and Van Zylsrus police for the multi-disciplinary approach that was followed in the apprehension and arrest of the suspects and in stamping down the authority of the state, especially during the lockdown period,” Gamieldien concluded.