Marloth Park is a springboard for KNP poachers

Spectators in Marloth Park watched as the lifeless body of a poacher killed in action, as well as other suspects being taken away from the banks of the Crocodile River after an early morning shootout with rangers.

MARLOTH PARK – People who live on the banks of the Crocodile River in this conservancy as well as those of the nearby informal settlement at Mjejane witnessed a dramatic early morning shoot-out between Kruger National Park rangers and poachers apparently entering the park from the south.

It happened at dawn on Tuesday. SANParks had confirmed the incident. Malelane rangers made contact with five suspected rhino poachers along the Crocodile River just downstream of the Mjejane Bridge.

PIC02helicopter_92358During the incident one poacher was fatally wounded, two were also wounded and arrested. The fourth suspected was apprehended with no injuries, while the last one managed to escape and is currently being sought. A rifle and other poaching-related equipment were recovered, according to Mr Rey Thakuli, acting head of communications at SANParks.

The first shots were heard around 02:00. Rangers within the park were alerted. According to a source, they moved in swiftly under the cover of darkness, cordoned off the area and acted at first light. A yellow-and-green SANParks helicopter arrived shortly afterwards with, among others, the chief warden of southern Kruger, Mr Don English.

While people started gathering around, a lifeless body could be seen lying on the river bank across from them. This was later removed. Trained dogs were sent in to find more perpetrators.

One of the men taken away by the rangers was known to the onlookers. Bystanders told Corridor Gazette that this man was working at a pump station on the nearby farm belonging to Mr Charly van Veijeren.

A well-established security expert in Marloth Pasrk says this incident confirms known information that poachers are operating from Marloth Park as well as neighbouring farms and villages. These are people moving freely within the communities or streets of Marloth. They are known to others and often are living in quarters at the back of houses offering caretaking services to weekenders as well as permanent dwellers.

Marius Bakkes

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