Two more arrested after poacher shootout (Namibia)


Namibian Sun

Date Published

Two more men have been arrested in connection with a shootout between anti-poaching units and alleged poachers in the Bwabwata National Park last week during which two suspects were killed and one seriously wounded. Major-General James Tjivikua of the Namibian Police issued a strict warning to poachers. “We are going to dismantle you piece by piece. We have given you enough warnings,” he said in a statement.

Kumbwa Mungunda John (34), a Namibian resident of Kamutjanga at Divundu, and Mbunda Simon (32), a resident of Mavanze village at Rundu, were both arrested last week. They were among the group of men found hunting in the park last week. They are expected to make a first court appearance this week. Tjivikua said the two men were implicated in the second skirmish with police in the park this month, just two weeks after another poacher had been killed after shooting an elephant in the park.

On Wednesday last week, an anti-poaching patrol, consisting of members of NamPol and Namibia Defence Force (NDF) soldiers, came under attack in the park about 21 kilometres east of Divundu. The anti-poaching unit immediately returned fire. Two poachers were killed instantly, and the unit managed to arrest a third man, Matheus Murongo, who had tried to flee despite having been seriously wounded during the shoot-out. The two deceased, one of whom has been identified as Paulo Shimonomono, were both “possibly in their forties,” according to police. Their nationality has not yet been confirmed. Murongo was carrying Angolan and Namibian identity documents. He remains under guard at Rundu State Hospital.

Following the shootout, police confiscated an AK-47 assault rifle, a homemade silencer, and twenty-five rounds of ammunition. Another suspect, whose identity is known to the police, is still on the run. Last week, the minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, warned that anti-poaching patrols would return fire if attacked by poachers. “Poachers shooting at anti-poaching units will regret doing so if they ever survive the firepower of our well-trained special units,” the minister said. He said he had been visiting national parks during December to “give new instructions” to anti-poaching teams. He said the ministry had “vowed to show [poachers] that there is an authority.”

Shifeta said an NDF special unit had been deployed in Bwabwata and similar units would be deployed in Etosha National Park in the near future. According to Tjivikua, two rhinos were killed by poachers in Etosha on December 3rd and 7th. Fifteen suspects were arrested and have appeared before the Opuwo Magistrate’s Court. The case was postponed until March.

Since September 15, 2016, twenty-four elephants were killed by poachers in Bwabwata National Park, he added.