Munashe Muchero Herald Reporter
Zimbabwean and Zambian police have launched a joint investigation into the recent murder of two Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers.
The primary suspects are four Zambian poachers who had been arrested and probably overpowered the rangers while in the rangers’ patrol boat.
Two rangers – Timothy Tembo and Mabharani Chidhumo – were reported missing on December 31 last year in Kariba.
Their bodies were later found floating in the lake, with their hands tied behind their backs by a search team between Spurwing and Long islands. Deputy national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Blessmore Chishaka said investigations were now underway.
“The ZRP and their Zambian colleagues have joined hands in investigating the murder of two ZimParks rangers,” he said.
“We enjoy cordial relations with our neighbouring officers, hence they are cooperating very well with us. A murder docket has since been opened to that effect and as we speak, investigations are progressing.”
Preliminary investigations show that the four suspected poachers, who are still at large, were from Zambia and had encroached onto Zimbabwean waters.
The rangers confiscated the boat that the poachers were using and headed for the nearby Changa Camp, where they wanted to leave it for safekeeping before heading for Kariba town with the arrested poachers.
Along the way, the poachers are suspected to have attacked the rangers since they were not handcuffed. It is forbidden to constrain prisoners while being transported on water.
The poachers are suspected to have overpowered the rangers, tied their hands and dumped them overboard. The rangers’ patrol boat was found floating near the Zambian shore of Lake Kariba with its engine removed. The search team later discovered the two rangers’ bodies in the lake.
Tembo was buried at John Range Cemetery in Kariba and his funeral drew scores of residents, ZimParks and Government officials in Kariba District. His colleague, Mabarani, was buried in Gokwe.