Seven suspects arrested for wildlife crimes

By Rosalia David

Seven suspects were arrested recently in connection with wildlife crimes, while three new criminal cases were opened. According to statistics released by the intelligence and investigation unit within the Environment Ministry and the protected resources division in the Safety and Security Ministry, two illegal skins of spotted genet were also seized.

Meanwhile 63 rounds of ammunition and five firearms were also seized during the same time. Of the seven suspects arrested, three were apprehended in connection with the Arms and Ammunition Act; contravening the Riotous Assemblies Act and conspiracy to hunt specially protected game (rhino).

Other items that were seized during operations included five firearms, 58 rounds of ammunition and one vehicle.

A Namibian Michael Aukongo was arrested on 14 April in Wanaheda for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act 7 of 1996 and contravening the Prevention of Organized Crime Act 29 of 2004. He was found in possession with three hunting rifles and ammunition.

Another Namibian, Munango Johannes Muhoko, was arrested in Rundu on 15 April after he was found with two skins of spotted genet.

In another incident in Oshivelo Petrus Ekanga Tangeni was arrested on 14 April in connection with an old case of contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act 7 of 1996, and contravening the Nature Conservation Ordinance 4.

According to the report, Tangeni also contravened the Riotous Assemblies and committed conspiracy to hunt specially protected game (rhino), as well as theft of rhino horns, in breach of the Prevention of Organised Crime. At the time of his arrest, the suspect was found with one hunting rifle and eight rounds of ammunitions.

Although the number of reported wildlife crimes has shown a slight increase in the most recent report, between 23 and 29 March there was only one new case registered, on the basis of which two suspects were arrested and charged.

The data shows that 117 suspects were arrested from October to December last year in connection with wildlife crimes and 246 wildlife products were seized during this period. The police said that these products included elephant tusks, rhino horns, pangolins, animal skins, shells and eggs.