An anti poaching unit was nearly killed by heavily armed poachers after the poachers ambushed them in the Chobe area, which has now become a battlefield between the anti poaching unit and poachers.
One suspected poacher was captured and his identity has not yet been verified and the suspicion is that they might be Zambians or Namibians.
“On the 9th of January 2012, around 2pm in the Sibuyu Forest Reserve, a law enforcement patrol encountered a group of about six poachers,” Mobile Bolele, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, told the Sunday Standard. “On being challenged, the suspected poachers started shooting and the law enforcement personnel fired back, resulting in one poacher being killed, one injured and four escaping.”
She said the patrol recovered some items used during poaching, such as skinning knives, 377 live ammunition for AK47 rifles, one AK47 magazine, multi-purpose lubricating oil and a weighing scale, all recovered from the camp used by the suspected poachers.
Bolele said the nationalities of the poachers are still being established while investigations are continuing.
“Poaching is very common in Chobe, especially cross border poaching. The poachers usually target high value species like elephants, for their tasks, and kill game species like buffaloes and impalas for food,” she said.
Bolele further said to ensure that poaching is kept at bay, there are joint patrols by law enforcement agencies, adding that there is also cross border cooperation among neighbouring countries in-order to combat poaching.
She pointed out that Botswana will do everything to protect its natural resources.
Two months ago, three suspected Zambian poachers, David Kakoma Wango, Evans Sichachani and Benn Mukisi were also part of cross border poachers who were shot dead by the anti poaching unit but one of them managed to escape.
Two mobile phones with Zambian SIM cards and 12 elephant tusks were recovered from the dead poachers who were repatriated to their country of origin for burial last December after the next of kin had been traced.