The Namibian Windhoek Theresia Tjihenuna
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

SIX people found carrying rifles in the Etosha National Park last week were arrested after a wounded rhino was found in the area.

Although police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed the arrests, he referred questions to the spokesperson, Edwin Kanguatjivi, who refused to give details because the case was being investigated.

Environment ministry director of wildlife and national parks Colgar Sikopo also declined to comment.

Another Chinese, Ye Zhiwei, was arrested two weeks ago at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa after successfully passing through Hosea Kutako with 18 rhino horns in his luggage.

NamRights executive director Phil ya Nangoloh claimed last week that three suspected poachers – Kakururua Tjonda (41), Uasindikirua ‘Muzeu’ Tjitaura (43) and Kambinde Mbuanda (38) – disappeared at Etosha on 20 October this year after a shoot-out with the police.

Both Ndeitunga and Sikopo denied receiving any reports of a shoot-out.

Speaking from the north of the country, Ndeitunga said he only heard of the missing persons when Ya Nangoloh texted him recently and asked about a police commissioner who received a call about the missing persons.

« They went to search and found nothing. We suspect these people are poachers, and those who reported them missing know that they are poachers, » he said.

He said those who reported should « come forward and tell us when and where these three people went missing ».

« They should also tell us what they were doing in the park on foot in the first place, » charged Ndeitunga.

Ndeitunga said he wants the home affairs ministry to blacklist all Chinese convicted of poaching.

« I also think the judiciary should consider imposing heavy prison sentences on these people, » he said.