South African National Parks (SANParks) today announced the arrest of a staff member on 25 August on suspicion of rhino paching. The man was employed as an Armed Guard for Technical Services in the Kruger National Park (KNP).
The suspect was arrested on 25th August along with three others who were taken into police custody after a SANParks Protection Services Security Guard deployed at the Paul Kruger gate, noticed four suspicious persons entering the park in a vehicle.
The Security Guard notified SAPS officials who were also deployed at the Gate at the time and the four suspects were handed over to the SAPS and taken into police custody. During follow up investigations by the police a heavy calibre rifle, ammunition and poaching related equipment was recovered. Unfortunately three of the suspects managed to escape from police custody whilst being transported and are currently still at large, SANParks said.
The suspect has appeared in court and was identified as Absalom Manyike. He was stationed at Satara and has been employed by SANParks since 2014. He will undergo the organization’s internal disciplinary process in due course.
The Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park, Glenn Phillips, commended the Protection Services for being vigilant but was disappointed that some of the suspects managed to escape from police custody. “We are glad that we have removed a betrayer from our ranks and will wait for justice to take its course. This should serve as a warning to all staff members who are assisting criminals; we will come after you and the consequence is that you will lose your job and go to jail for a long period”
Investigations are still on-going and all attempts are being made to arrest the three escaped suspects, SANParks said.