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» » Inquest on gunned down Mwenezi poachers opens

Cephas Shava

MWENEZI - An inquiry into the case in which three poachers were shot dead in Mwenezi West following an exchange of gun fire between them and game scouts was recently opened at the Mwenezi Magistrates’ Court.
The three deceased suspected poachers Reason Muzamba, Justin Sibanda and Conservative Mafa were shot dead after they came face-to-face with game scouts at Bubi Valley Conservancy popularly known as Towler Ranch. The Big Five conservancy stretches from Mwenezi West to Matabeleland South.
Testifying before magistrate Honest Musiiwa on Monday, January 20, the ‘killer’ game scouts told the court that the three poachers were heavily armed.
They said upon realising that the poachers were directly firing at them, they returned gun fire in self-defence.
They further told the court that cases of rhino poaching were on the increase in the conservancy and that on several occasions, they encountered heavily armed poachers.
“It was a bit dark when we came face-to-face with the poachers. When we fired some warning shots in the air, instead of them surrendering, they fired back at us. We ended up randomly exchanging gun fire.
“We retreated for a while and later on accounted for three dead bodies. One of the dead poachers, Muzamba was an ex-game scout at the conservancy,” said one of the witnesses.
It is the State case that on July 28 last year, Bubi Conservancy game scouts came face-to-face with some armed poachers who had intruded into the conservancy’ fence.
Gun fire was exchanged and this led to the death on the spot of three poachers, Muzamba, Sibanda and Mafu.
A police report was made and detectives from Mwenezi attended the scene and accounted for the three dead bodies.
The matter was postponed to January 28 where a ballistic expert and an investigating officer will give their versions of the story.  Willard Chasi prosecuted.

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