Poaching suspects appear in Okahao Magistrate’s Court

OKAHAO: A group of poaching suspects made a brief joint court appearance at Okahao in the Omusati Region on Thursday, said the court officials here on Friday.

It is a group of 24 suspects arrested last month and now face the charge of hunting of a protected game between 2008 and this year.

The group appeared before magistrate Liwena Mikiti, who adjourned their case until 07 September 2015 for legal aid and further Police investigations.

They are accused of poaching, especially with Rhinos, in and/or near the Etoshana National Park in the regions of Oshana, Omusati and Kunene.

Head of the anti-poaching operation and commander of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Oshana Region, Commissioner Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa earlier revealed that some 62 Rhinos have been poached in the Etosha National Park area since 2008.

It is alleged that the suspects, who are mostly from Onamatanga, Utsathima, Omakange, Opuwo, Etilyasa, Otjetjekua, Otjonova and one each from Walvis Bay and Windhoek, poached for marketing of Rhino horns.

Six of the suspects, Mateus Matati Kauzapo, 34, Daniel Shilongo, 22, Tiophilus Paulus Kauzapo, 25, Kauko Muumbwa Song, 26, Mavetjere Tuntjo Tjikapute, 32, and 59-year-old Mateus Paulus have been released after appearing together with others on Thursday.

State prosecutor Victoria Shigwedha told Nampa that the six were released because of no evidence linking them to the case.

Also released, but on bail of N.dollars 40 000 each, are Tobias Sheetu Amunyela, 25, Lukas Akooko, 35, and 39-year-old Pineas Natangwe Awene.

Remaining in the NamPol custody are Petrus Uukongo, 39, Sakeus Ekandjo, 27, Paulus Matati Uusiku, 29, Amwaama Petrus Nemulipo, 45, Tauhulupo Heumbondi Kandi, 29, Alex Shipingana Nampweya, 32, Kleophas Ashipala, 32, Jason Eino Shipingana, 33, Johannes Kefas Iimbuwa, 49, Ignatius Kiinge Tonata, 36, Gumwe Shipingana, 29, Absalom Nashilongo, 25, Shalulile Shaanyena, 42, Katirire Turitjo Tjapi, 45, and Fillemon Iilende Magongo (age unknown).