Malawi court sentences man four years jail for elephant poaching

elepMachinga Second Grade Magistrate Court Thursday convicted and sentenced Lifa Makwale, 31  to four years imprisonment after being found guilty on four counts related to the killing of an elephant in the Liwonde National Park.

The court heard that Makwale and two accomplices currently at large entered the park at night where they set a locally made wire snare that eventually killed a sub adult elephant which had not grown ivory.

They removed the elephant flesh and roasted it right in the park before taking the roasted meat home where it was later recovered by the Liwonde National Park officials who traced Makwale following a tip off.

Makwale was arrested while in possession of the roasted elephant meat which was later recovered at his home, Iman village, Traditional Authority Liwonde in Machinga.

His illegal entry into the park was contrary to section 32 of National Park and Wildlife Act while the setting of a wire snare in the park was contrary to section 33 of the wildlife act, according to Machinga Police prosecutor, Sub Inspector Rodrick Kamuona.

Killing the protected elephant which is one of the big five species in the park is contrary to section 35 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Africa Parks of South Africa who are currently managing the Liwonde National Park, erected a solar powered fence around the park to stop human animal conflict.

Makwale and his accomplices vandalized the fence before entering the protected animal territory hence a charge relating to fence vandalism which is contrary to section 112 of laws of Malawi.

Kamuona then asked the court to give Makwale stiffer penalty saying he committed serious crime which has a negative impact on the national wildlife pride.

Second Grade Magistrate, Maxwell Boazi said killing of elephants is serious crime that deserves custodial sentence considering that this was contrary to Malawi’s efforts in promoting tourism industry.

Makwale was sentenced to 15 months for his illegal entry into the national park, 15 months for conveying a weapon in the park, 50 months for killing the elephant and 12 months for fence vandalism.

According to Magistrate Boazi all these were to run concurrently and meant for four years two months.

Recently a poacher armed with a muzzle loader was shot dead right in the Liwonde National Park as he was challenging a parks and wildlife assistant armed with an AK 47.

The poacher pointed his muzzle loader straight to the parks and wildlife assistant despite the wildlife assistant shooting in the air to scare him, according to Machinga Police Public Relations Officer, Constable Davie Sulumba.

In a self defense he released a bullet that landed on Makwale’s belly as his two accomplices fled the scene other than challenging the AK 47 armed personnel further.

“Police are investigating the matter,” Sulumba said.

 

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