SIX men including a soldier, police officer and a ranger have been arrested after they were found in possession of firearms and various wildlife trophies for different animals.
Mascot Mbabavi (35), a police officer stationed at Fairbridge outside Bulawayo and is attached to the ZRP Support Unit Delta Troop, Anymore Sikuka (37), a soldier stationed at 1.2 Infantry Battalion in Hwange, Kissmore Munsaka (32), a ranger as well as three Victoria Falls residents who all reside in Mkhosana suburb — Vester Chimidzi (43), Buuya Sikuka (48) and Munashe Marumisa whose age was not given, were arrested after police were tipped off that they were selling a lion head and skin.
The six were found in possession of rounds of ammunition and guns after a swoop at their places of residence.
They appeared before Hwange magistrate Mr Gift Dube facing charges of hunting and selling animal products without a permit, possessing firearms, using Class One wire snares as well as theft. They were denied bail after the prosecutor Mrs Sithabile Daka-Mungombe told the court that they were a flight risk considering the gravity of their offences.
The prosecutor said the accused may abscond as they know they may go to jail if convicted. The magistrate remanded them in custody to November 27.
Mbabavi, Sikuka and Chimidzi were arrested following a tip-off. They then implicated their accomplices.
“On the 10th of November information was received that the accused were selling a lion skin and head without a permit. A trap was made leading to arrest of Mbabavi and the other two,” said the prosecutor.
Marumisa and Munsaka were found with impala horns and skin, four Class One wire snares and a combined 33 rounds of ammunition.
A kudu skin and two warthog teeth were also recovered.The value of the trophies was $25 000.