Twelve suspects were arrested for illegal poaching and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition on Tuesday. According to an official SAPS report, the arrests happened during three separate operations in the Hoedspruit, Zebediela and Mokopane areas.
In the first incident four suspects aged between 23 and 44 were arrested for illegal poaching at a farm in the Hoedspruit area outside Phalaborwa in the Giyani Cluster at about 16:00 on Tuesday.
The police received a tip-off about the existence of a group of illegal poachers at one of the local farms. They reacted swiftly, spotted these criminals and apprehended two of them immediately. The suspects were found in possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
The preliminary police investigations led to the arrest of another suspect driving a get-away car after he was spotted in the same farm. The suspect did not cooperate. During that process, he was shot and injured and subsequently taken to hospital for medical attention.
The other driver of the second get-away car managed to evade arrest by abandoning the vehicle. He fled on foot and is still being sought.
Meanwhile, the second incident happened in the Zebediela area outside Lebowakgomo. Police arrested six suspects aged between 23 and 35 for possession of unlicensed firearms during a special intelligence-led joint operation.
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It is alleged that on around 10:00, the police stopped a suspicious car and searched it near Mathibela Phase 1 village next to Groothoek Garage, and recovered unlicensed firearms.
In the Mokopane Policing area, a sting called operation “Ceasefire” was conducted in the CBD and the surrounding areas, targeting the possesion and dealing of drugs and firearms.
During this operation, two suspects aged 25 and 36 were arrested and firearms and ammunition recovered.
The following items were recovered during the three separate operations conducted in the Hoedspruit, Zebediela and Mokopane areas :
* Three motor vehicles; a Ford, a Golf 7 and a Toyota Avanza
* Six firearms, including a rifle and ammunition
* Food, clothes, axe, knife and four pallets of rounds.
The suspects arrested during these operations will appear before the Mokopane, Lebowakgomo and Hoedspruit Magistrate Courts respectively.