Five suspected elephant poachers reportedly escaped following a standoff with the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) anti-poaching team in the Shaile area in the Chobe National Park on the afternoon of March 16.
The officer in charge at the Narcotics, Fauna and Flora Investigations Department in Kasane, Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Chipisani said none of the BDF patrol team was hurt in the shoot out. He explained that at around 4 pm on Monday a confrontation broke out between members of the BDF anti-poaching patrol team and the poachers, during which time there was an exchange of fire before the poachers escaped.
“Unfortunately, all the five poachers managed to escape. Luckily, none of our soldiers was injured,” he said.
Assistant Superintendent Chipisani explained that they suspected that the poachers were from neighbouring countries of Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. He said from the evidence the police gathered, the poachers had planned to set up camp because they had in their possession, mattresses, pots, salt, mealie meal, sugar, cooking oil and clothes, which they threw away during the exchange.
Assistant Superintendent Chipisani warned the Botswana government had declared war on poachers and that most of them would not come out of it alive if poaching continues. He explained that investigations into the incident were ongoing, adding that this was the first incident to occur in his area of jurisdiction since the beginning of the year. The Shaile incident follows a recent incident in which a BDF soldier and a poacher died during an exchange of fire at Chiefs Island in the Okavango Delta.
Meantime, One black rhino was found dead in the Okavango Delta on Monday. There are suspicions it was killed by poachers. This brings over 30 the number of rhinos killed since rhino poaching in spiked in 2019.
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks will reportedly commence rhinos dehorning in the Okavango Delta in the coming weeks. The operation is maimed at saving the rhinos from escalating poaching incidents.
Sources: BOPA / Botswana Safari News Facebook page