Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Cop shot in encounter with suspected poachers

Cop shot in encounter with suspected poachers

May 14, 2010

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO – A policeman was this week seriously injured following an exchange of gunfire between police officers and five Mozambicans in the Dumisa area of Chiredzi near the Gonarezhou National Park.

The encounter occured amid reports that security has been tightened along the Zimbabwe-Mozambican border to curb poacher incursions.

The policeman, whose name could not be released to the press, was reported to be in critical condition in Chiredzi District Hospital.

The police confirmed the incident occurred in the Dumisa area near the Gonarezhou National Park. The Mozambicans were suspected of poaching in the game reserve.

Police detectives on patrol, together with officers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, spotted the five after they had stopped their car which had developed a mechanical fault.

Upon noticing the police and game rangers, the five suspected poachers opened fire and seriously injured one of the policemen.

Police returned fire and the suspected poachers took to their heels . However, the police gave chase and arrested two of the Mozambicans. Three managed to escape.

Police recovered a white Isuzu vehicle which the suspected poachers were using. They also recovered several bales of clothes believed to have been smuggled into the country through an undesignated entry point.

Masvingo police spokesman Inspector Tinaye Matake confirmed the incident on Thursday, adding that the police have since beefed up operations along the Mozambican border.

“We have arrested two Mozambicans following a shoot out with the police,” said Matake

“We have also recovered the car in which the five were travelling in and an assortment of goods, among them bales of clothes smuggled into the country.

“One of our officers was injured during the incident; he is recovering at Chiredzi District Hospital.”

Sources within the police force said that a combined operation involving the police, the army and officers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife had been launched.

“We have beefed up security along the border to avoid similar incidents,” said a source in the police.

“We have also discovered that there are several undesignated entry points along the border which are used by both poachers and Zimbabweans who illegally cross into Mozambique.”

Poaching is rampant in the Gonarezhou National Park. The police and game rangers blame Mozambicans for the poaching.


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