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Rhino poacher who shot at helicopter jailed for 33 years

A poacher has been sentenced to 33 years imprisonment for shooting a police officer.
A poacher has been sentenced to 33 years imprisonment for shooting a police officer.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

A rhino poacher has been sentenced to 33 years behind bars.

SanParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said Patrick Nkuna was arrested in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 2015 during an anti-poaching operation.

"Shortly before the arrest of Nkuna and his accomplices‚ he attempted to shoot at a SanParks helicopter involved in the follow-up operation‚" said Phaahla.

Nkuna was charged with 12 counts‚ including four counts of attempted murder‚ trespassing in a national park and possession of an illegal firearm. He was sentenced in the Skukuza Regional Court on Friday.

KNP managing executive Glenn Phillips commended the courts for imposing "such a stiff jail term".

"This is a huge victory and deterrence factor in the ongoing anti-poaching campaign. We warmly welcome this ruling as it will provide the much-needed boost to the anti-poaching teams who endure harsh conditions for the protection of our parks."

He added: "Our wish is to see a significant increase in such convictions and for the law enforcement authorities in affected countries to cooperate and work with us to end this scourge."

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