A pair of suspected rhino poachers died last Wednesday after they were involved in a high-speed pursuit from police and game rangers before crashing into a stray goat.

According to a report from Zimbabwe’s Nehanda Radio, two suspected rhino poachers in Beitbridge died on their way to the Bulawayo United Hospitals after they were involved in an accident while being pursued by police and game rangers during a high-speed chase.

The accident happened on June 12 at the Bubye Valley Conservancy on the outskirts of Beitbridge.

The story emerged when two other suspects – James Mauto and Celestino Shate – appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate and facing charges of unlawful hunting of a specifically protected animal in violation of the Parks and Wildlife Act, according to Nehanda Radio. They were remanded and are currently in custody until June 28.

According to Nehanda Radio, Mauto and Shate were with the deceased suspects – Godfrey Makechemu and Charles Runye – and all were allegedly spotted by game rangers inside Bubye Valley Conservancy.

The four people, who were allegedly poaching for rhinos, fled from the scene and were then pursued by the game rangers. Nehanda Radio stated that the suspects’ footprints indicated that they were tracking rhino prints at the conservancy.

“Acting on a tip-off, a police mobile unit saw the suspected poachers coming out of Bubye Valley Conservancy and heading towards a nearby Jopembe village and pursued them,” stated Mr. Guwanda, a prosecutor in the poaching case.

Nehanda Radio stated that as police and game rangers were making a follow-up, they spotted the suspects jumping into their vehicle and speeding off. While fleeing from law enforcement, the suspects’ vehicle hit a stray goat, resulting in the driver to lose control and veer off the road and overturned.

When police arrived at the scene, they found the four suspects injured inside the vehicle. A search was then conducted leading to the recovery of a telescopic sight rifle. According to Nehanda Radio, the suspects failed to give a satisfactory response when being interviewed leading to their arrests.

The suspects were taken to Beitbridge District Hospital, while Makechemu and Runye were then transferred to Bulawayo United Hospitals, where they died upon admission.


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