Kashira Camp, Namibia The media report

Namibia helping Angola to find poachers

Niel Terblanche

THE sound of automatic gunfire awoke a group of tourists staying on the Namibian side of Okavango River as poachers shot at a herd of elephant feeding across the river in the Luiana National Park in Angola.

Members of the Namibian Police’s Special Reserve Force along with officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism deployed to the area to assist Angolan police with the hunt for the gang of poachers and to find wounded animals.

The incident occurred just more than two years after a group of poachers killed at least three elephants in full view of horrified international visitors at the same tourist lodge in a similar incident. During the latest incident poachers only managed to wound some of the animals and officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Members of the Namibian police and members of the Angolan police were deployed in the Luiana National Park, previously the heartland of Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA to find the wounded animals.

According to Hennie Burger who manages the Kashira Camp on the banks of the river between Namibia and Angola, he and his guests were woken by the sound of gunfire during the course of Tuesday night.

“This morning, officials from MET and officers of the Special Reserve Force of the Namibian Police arrived at the river to search for the animals. They were met on the Angolan side by that country’s police officers. We were informed that they found one wounded elephant and were forced to kill it. The search for the poachers and more wounded animals was still continuing,” he said. During July 2016 poachers used military grade weapons to launch their attack on a small herd of elephant feeding on an island in the Okavango River. The poachers used hand grenades or improvised explosive devices to kill and maim the elephants.

“I was told that the people heard the awful noise of the attack and screams of anguish of the elephants shortly afterwards,” Burger said at the time.

The latest attack on a group of elephants occurred near Kasira Camp close to Dirico in the Katere area of the Kavango at the confluence of the Quito- and Okavango Rivers.

“At this stage it is not clear how many of the elephants were actually injured,” Burger said.

Because the calibre of the AK-47 automatic assault rifles is too small to kill an elephant effectively and humanely with one shot, many hundreds of rounds are needed to bring down an animal of that size.

Burger said similar to the previous attack more than a year ago the poachers did not focus on one or two of the animals. He said the poachers were firing wildly and indiscriminately which could leave many other elephants wounded.

In vain the police and MET only killed the animal took the meat and did nothing further.

The last incident that happened was officials from Angola who poached elephants. We all know elephants is a world wide protected Specy.