Poachers in gun battle with Malawi game rangers

Two suspected poachers are laying in agony at Salima district hospital after they were injured in a gun shoot out with game rangers at Thuma forest reserve in the district.

The two injured suspects identified as James Zoye 21 and Wilson Chimangeni 26 together with an accomplice Adoni Chipengo 50 are said to have entered the restricted area of Thuma forest reserve on the morning of Sunday armed with a homemade gun to hunt for game.

According to Salima Police public relations officer Gift Chitowe the three were confronted by the rangers after they shot dead a warthog.

Game ranger in anti-poaching patrol

“The three were surrounded after noise from their gun alerted the rangers, and when the rangers tried to stop them they resisted, exchange of gun fire began.

“In the process the two were heavily injured with Zoye sustaining head injuries while Chimangeni sustained a wound on the chest and the other escaped before he was apprehended at his village on Monday morning,” said Chitowe.

The three suspects are from Ndola village Traditional Authority Kambiwiri in the district and are expected to appear in court soon to answer charges of poaching.

Thuma Forest Reserve which is on the border between Salima, Lilongwe and Dowa districts is home to different kinds of wildlife including elephants and is currently being managed by Wildlife Action Group on behalf of Malawi Government.

Meanwhile, poaching and harvesting of prohibited natural resources in the forest are said to be the main causes of man-animal conflicts around the Salima side of the reserve and has seen up to four people killed by elephants in three years.

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