Sisulu warns poachers - Shoot and get shot

Shoot at our soldiers and they will return fire, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu today warned wildlife poachers

In a strongly worded statement issued after SA National Defence Force troops killed three poachers inside the Kruger National Park near the border with Mozambique, she said poachers had to know the army would “fight fire with fire”.

On Wednesday this week, an SANDF patrol was shot at by poachers in the Houtbosrand area in the north of the park. The troops returned fire, killing the three men.

An AK-47 assault rifle, a Bruno .458 hunting rifle, two axes and  two cellphones were found in the men’s possession.

The SANDF started guarding the park’s borders in April last year, following a surge in rhino poaching.

“The SANDF will do anything to protect our national assets; we will not allow criminals to do as they wish in our parks. We also want to send a very strong message that poachers who shoot at soldiers must know that we will return fire with fire.”   

She said the SANDF and SA National Parks would co-operate to protect the country’s national parks. “The co-operation will include joint operations, sharing of information and training.”   

Sisulu said that by the end of 2013, the SANDF would be patrolling the full length of South Africa’s land borders with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia.