THE bodies of two Zambian poachers, who recently exchanged fire with police and parks rangers, have been found floating in the Zambezi River.
The duo was initially thought to be on the run.
Officer commanding Victoria Falls, Superintendent Dominic Sibanda confirmed the incident, saying relatives of the two had since arrived in Zimbabwe to collect the bodies.
Zimbabwe National Parks Rangers on parade at Tashinga in Matusadona National Park.
“The two were spotted on February 14 by fishermen near the Jambezi side. They reported the matter and tried to rescue them, but we couldn’t find them until yesterday. They were both naked and the other one had both legs missing,” Sibanda said, adding their names could not be disclosed until their relatives brought positive identification documents.
Sibanda said one of the two other suspects, who were apprehended first, denied knowing them.
“He refused to co-operate but his eyes were guilty (sic). We then interrogated him after finding the names of the six accused and it showed that they were together. He later admitted and said they had come to poach, as it was their business,” he said.
“The families, together with Zambian police, came to our offices this afternoon (yesterday) seeking their bodies, but we told them that we had taken them to Bulawayo. They are from Lusaka. Currently, we sent them back to go and collect all their documents so that we release the bodies.”
Meanwhile, a Zambian national, Christopher Malasa Mandanya (35), appeared at the Victoria Falls Magistrates’ Court facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, possession of dagga and for entering Zimbabwe illegally.
He was not asked to plead to the charges when he appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Rangarirai Gakanje and was remanded in custody to February 22.
Prosecutor Listen Nare said Mandanya and five accomplices, still at large, were spotted by Jambezi villagers moving around the area carrying firearms.
On February 6, police laid an ambush at night and spotted the group.
Police fired warning shots and they fired back, but they were eventually forced to flee.
Mandanya was, however, caught.
He was found in possession of 25 rounds of ammunition, two axes and butcher knives and 2kg of dagga.