Rangers rescued two suspected rhino poachers who were mauled by lions in the Kruger National Park. The two men were hospitalised and charged with trespassing and the possession of an unlicensed AK47 assault rifle and pistol.
Emmanuel Ngobeni, 34, and Mtlakavaka Matose, 35, of Masingeri in Mozambique appeared in Skukuza circuit court on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. Skukuza branch commander Inspector Willie Broodryk said rangers who were on patrol at the Nwanetsi concession near Satara camp on March 17 heard the two men calling for help.
"They found the two suspects crawling along the ground as they couldn't walk after being attacked by lions the previous night," said Broodryk.
He said the men are believed to have fired the two weapons to chase the lions away as there were spent cartridges on the scene. There was no evidence that the lions were injured, however. The men denied the weapons belonged to them, so police have sent the weapons for forensic tests. The men are believed to be rhino poachers, as rhino poachers are known to use AK-47s to kill the animals. The two men were flown to hospital where they were treated for two weeks before being discharged.