Elephant poachers jailed 11 years each

HARARE - A Zimbabwe court has sentenced two poachers to at least 11 years in prison each for illegal possession of ivory and two firearms.

Hwange magistrate Dambudzo Munati sentenced 54-year-old Isaac Phiri and Johanne Musaka, 31,  to 11 years in prison for killing elephants.

Caroline Washaya-Moyo, the spokesperson for Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, hailed the sentence as deterrent to would-be poachers.

The crime, committed in 2008, saw the recovery from the accused persons of 25 elephant tusks weighing 81kg, two elephant tusks weighing 1 380kg and two AK rifles recovered from each of the accused persons.

Phiri had 25 AK rounds of ammunition while Musaka had 56 rounds of ammunition that they used to kill elephants in the Hwange National Park.

Washaya-Moyo said: “We will continue to engage the judiciary to ensure that there is consistency in all wildlife cases brought before the courts.”

Elephants’ tusks are highly sought after for Asia’s ivory trade.

There are more than 120 000 elephants in Zimbabwe’s national parks.

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