Thursday, August 6, 2020

Another poacher killed during a gun battle with BDF soldiers at Okavango Delta

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has confirmed the death of a poacher, killed in an anti-poaching incident in the Okavango Delta. 

According to Colonel Tebo Dikole – Director of the Directorate of Protocol and Public Affairs at Botswana Defence Force (BDF) the poacher was shot dead around the Kwando II area in the Okavango Delta on the 5th of July. 

“A BDF anti-poaching team exchanged fire with poachers resulting in one poacher being killed”, said Dikole. 

The latest incident brings the total number of poachers killed since the beginning of 2020 to seventeen (17). The country has been recording unprecedented rise in poaching activities in the past 36 months. 

In 2015 Botswana made it public that she has adopted a “shoot to kill” policy as a radical measure to curb the mass slaughter of wild animals especially elephants and rhinos.

 “How do you deal with an armed person? You deal with him by bringing in someone who is also armed to match him hence the involvement of the Botswana Defence Force in the anti-poaching missions.”, said Gaolathe Galebotswe, former BDF Commander in 2015. 

At the time the Botswana government said that despite criticism from the international community on the “shoot to kill” policy there were no efforts among countries to support anti-poaching initiatives to save wildlife species targeted by criminal syndicates. 

Apart from the shoot to kill policy, Botswana has since decided to dehorn all the rhinos and relocate them to secure, private locations.

The wildlife custodians – Department of Wildlife and National Parks said in addition to dehorning, anti-poaching efforts would be intensified. 

The BDF has however admitted that poachers are using sophisticated weapons of war and communication equipment. 

“As a professional, prompt and decisive force, the BDF will continue to execute its mission of defending Botswana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national interest”, said Dikole on Friday. 

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