Report: Zimbabwe rhino poachers given record jail terms
Sep 9, 2011, 16:03 GMT
Harare - Two Mozambican men have been given 21-year jail sentences for rhino
poaching in Zimbabwe, the independent Newsday paper reported Friday.
Those terms are longer than ones usually given for rape and murder.
Poachers have killed out at least 14 rhino in Zimbabwe's nature reserves so
far this year, principally for their horn, which is believed to have
magical, cancer-curing properties in some Eastern countries.
Magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso called the men 'mercenaries'.
Game rangers tracked the men and arrested them last month in the Save Valley
reserve in the south of the country. They were carrying a loaded
semi-automatic rifle and 27 rounds of ammunition.
'I have to put you out of circulation for a long time,' the magistrate told
the pair. Zimbabwe has only just over 300 black rhinos and at least 190
white rhino left, conservationists say.
Desperate to stop poaching - which is believed to be controlled by powerful
army-linked syndicates - magistrates have started imposing stiff sentences.
In April this year, two Mozambican nationals were sentenced to 13-year jail
terms for poaching rhino in Chipangayi, south-eastern Zimbabwe.
A Zimbabwean rhino poacher was given a 17-year jail sentence in January
In contrast, a pastor from the eastern town of Rusape was given just five
years in jail this month after being convicted of murdering his son.