Twelve foreign fishermen from Namibia and Zambia were over the weekend raided by the law enforcement during an intensive operation in Shaile island where poaching is rampant because the terrain is not easily accessible by road.
The suspects were taken by law enforcement agents in a helicopter to Parakarungu village for prosecution.
Officer commandeering in Chobe senior superintendent Mojaboswa Mathitha confirmed to The Telegraph on Monday that on Saturday they launched a routine operation in Shaile island and about 12 suspects were arrested two Namibians, male and a female and 10 Zambians, five men and five women as well as a two year old child.
He said during the raid the suspects were allegedly found in-possession of a huge amount of fish and other things that will be used as part of exhibits when appearing before court.
Mathita explained that on Monday the alleged suspects were taken to Parakarungu customary court where they were charged on several counts ranging from entering Botswana illegally and unlawful fishing.
“Some of the suspects were found guilty and given strokes instead of jail sentence while others admitted guilt and fined P150 each,” he said.
“As the law enforcement agencies we are worried about the illegal activities that are frequently taking place within and around the Shaile island and we want to put a stop to such illegal activities,” he said.
Mathita pointed out that sometime last year about 13 elephants were killed in that particular area.
“This is a clear sign that criminal activities are rampant within the area and we cannot allow such acts to continue,” he said. ┬á┬á┬á┬á
He refuted allegations that the suspects were arrested in the Namibian side.
“The suspects were purely on the Botswana side therefore we had to arrest them as they had entered Botswana at an ungazetted point of entry as well as fishing illegally without permits.
We are professionals as we know our boundaries where they start and end therefore we cannot even try to enter another country without the knowledge of government officials,” said Mathita.
Mathita said they have cordial relations with their counterparts in both countries as they assist each other to fight cross border crime in clouding poaching.