Kabokweni – A 47-year-old suspected rhino poaching syndicate member, Francis Kipampa, was on Tuesday remanded in custody by Kabokweni Magistrate’s Court, Ehlanzeni District Municipality, Mpumalanga.
Kipampa was tracked and linked by DNA to rhino poaching before he was arrested by members of the Wildlife trafficking Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) – better known as the Hawks
Some of the DPCI members that arrested Kipampa were from the Head Office and others were from Mpumalanga.
On Tuesday, the court adjourned the matter and remanded Kipampa in custody.
Kipampa who faces charges related to unlawfully dealing in rhino horn will again appear in court next week Tuesday, (14 February 2023), for a formal bail application.
Giving an account of how the suspect was nabbed, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said the Hawks were tasked to trace the suspect in Johannesburg.
During the takedown operation dubbed “Project Blood Orange”, on 2 December 2022, the Hawks found rhino horns in Kimpapa’s house.
“The DNA samples were sent to the laboratory, and the test results linked him positively with the crime,” said Captain Sekgotodi.
When Kipampa found out that the Hawks were looking to arrest him, he handed himself over.
He was charged with unlawfully dealing in rhino horns.
“It is alleged that the accused forms part of the syndicates in the Kruger National Park rhino poaching saga,” said Captain Sekgotodi.
The accused allegedly conspired with two other families whose members were arrested in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively for dealing in rhino horn.
They have since been released on bail.