Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary (PS) Rev. Howard Sikwela has warned poachers that the Government is equipping Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Officers and community scouts so that they can defend themselves when attacked.
Mr Sikwela was reacting to a shooting incidence that happened in Chizela (GMA) of Mufumbwe district in North Western province where a community scout Lackson Shimbami was shot in the head whilst on patrol.
The PS expressed sadness and said patrol teams will retaliate with full force to guard themselves.
“The poachers in Mufumbwe district shot Lackson Shimbami, a community scout in the head while he was on patrol,” said PS Sikwela.
Mr Sikwela stated that Shimbami was working under Chizela Community Resources Board on a long patrol in GMA in the company of four (4) other officers.
“His team had an encounter with a group of armed poachers and in the process of pursuing the poachers who had on them dangerous weapons among them a shotgun, which the suspects used to shoot at Shimbami,” Mr Sikwela said.
He said that two of the suspected poachers were apprehended and the shotgun confiscated and that two others are on the run.
Mr. sikwela said the scout is currently admitted at Mufumbwe District Hospital while efforts are being made to evacuate him to Solwezi General Hospital.
In another incident, Mr Sikwela said a Wildlife Police Officer Haapia Chaaba, was caught by a crocodile on the Luangwa River in Sandwe GMA after the boat he and other patrol team members were using capsized.
“The crocodile caught Chaaba as he tried to swim to the riverbank and his fellow officers managed to rescue him from the jaws of the aquatic reptile after a struggle,” said Mr Sikwela.
He further stated that the officer sustained laceration on the foot and bruises on the fingers as the team tried to free himself from the jaws of the reptile.
The PS has commended his officers for rescuing their colleague from the crocodile’s jaws.
Mr Sikwela said that safety boots he was wearing saved his foot and that the officer is currently receiving treatment in Petauke General Hospital.