- Soldiers face imprisonment for poaching a buff alo
- DPP is reportedly caught between prosecuting and returning case to BDF for inadequate evidence
- Case dates back to 2018
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) are reportedly under immense pressure from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) to prosecute soldiers charged with buffalo poaching.
The BDF, which initially wrestled the case from the Botswana Police Service to deal with it internally, last week said it had decided to refer the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Internal processes thwarted
Sources say attempts to deal with the matter internally at the BDF in order to avoid public scrutiny have been thwarted by wildlife authorities. “In fact, there are fears that the DPP may not proceed to prosecute the case,” a source at DWNP.
Offences involving illegal killing of wildlife or hunting without permits carry long prison terms and hefty fines ranging from five to 10 years under the Wildlife Act.
The case is about a matter that dates back to 2018 when eight soldiers were charged with poaching a buffalo and skinning it within NG/29 Concession, a park in Ngamiland East.
One of the operators who unexpectedly happened upon the alleged crime scene found the soldiers in possession of a skinned buffalo. According to reports, the soldiers had loaded the buffalo carcass on their vehicle, then quickly rushed to inform the operator that the buffalo was shot in self-defence when it attacked them.