Two ‘Namibians’ killed in Botswana over poaching

Two suspected poachers believed to be Namibians were shot and killed by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) last Sunday while tracking a rhino they had shot in Moremi Game Reserve in northern Botswana, the media reported this week.

“The nationality of the two is still unknown but [it is] suspected they may be from neighbouring Namibia. Police investigations are ongoing as the bodies of the two deceased are at Letsholathebe Hospital in Maun,” online publication INK Centre for Investigative Journalism reported on Tuesday, quoting Acting Maun police chief, Superintendent Samuel Kgomo as having said.

Kgomo said two suspected rhino poachers tracking a wounded rhino were ambushed by the BDF Anti-Poaching Unit near Mombo Camp in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta and were shot and killed on the spot. Botswana has an unwritten shoot to kill policy towards suspected ivory poachers. He said the BDF anti-poaching unit, which was on patrol, was alerted to gunshots and went to investigate. On the way, they found a wounded female rhino and took cover,  hoping the poachers would show up. 

“As expected, the poachers came chasing after the rhino. The BDF officers did not waste time as they killed the two poachers on the spot,” Kgomo revealed.

The female rhino was later found dead metres from the scene. It leaves behind a young calf. Superintendent Kgomo said the army found a special assault rifle in possession of the poachers and 10 bullets. In 2015, Botswana security forces, as a result of the unwritten shoot-to-kill policy, reportedly killed at least 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans suspected of being poachers.

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