Harare – A Zimbabwean policeman was accidentally shot and killed, allegedly by a colleague, on the border of the Hwange National Park during a high speed chase after poachers.
On Sunday, the two Zimbabwe Republican Police (ZRP) officers and rangers from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority had set up an ambush at a water hole within the Sinamatella Camp in the park where four young elephants and many birds had died of cyanide poisoning.
According to Trevor Lane, who runs a wild life conservation charity, the Bhejane Trust, the poachers only managed to get one tusk as the other three poisoned elephants were too young to have tusks.
“The four suspects fled the ambush in a vehicle after being challenged, and the ambush team of two rangers and the two ZRP details gave chase. Very unfortunately the one detail had an accidental discharge in the chase vehicle, and hit the other ZRP detail, who has subsequently died. The suspects obviously got away but follow ups and investigations continue.”
He said this was “a most tragic incident”. Lane said the wildlife community was “very sorry about the dead policeman who died doing his duty”.
He told African News Agency the police had the registration number of the poachers vehicle.
“We hope they will soon be found.”
The dead man’s name has not yet been released.
More then 200 elephants have died from cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe the last three years. Poachers usually poison water holes with cyanide which is easily available from the mining industry.
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority did not answer calls Monday.