Jailed for a live tortoise

Christinah Motlhabane
NABBED: Maposa and Khumalo caught at Ngangane farm

Francistown Magistrates’ Court on Thursday last week remanded in custody two Zimbabwean men for the unlawful possession of a live tortoise.

The duo, 39-year-old Johnson Maposa and Mayibongwe Khumalo, 28, was caught at Ngangane Game Reserve near Matsiloje village last week Monday by the anti-poaching unit on suspicions of hunting.

During the search, they were found in possession of a live tortoise and a plastron of a dead tortoise as they had already cooked and consumed the other part.

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The anti-poaching unit then phoned the police, who swiftly arrived at the scene to arrest the two Zimbabweans.

They were then arraigned before Francistown Magistrates’ Court where their liberty to freedom was curtailed.

Securing their remand was the State Prosecutor, Chilume Mpena, who told court the accused persons are illegal immigrants without travel documents who, if granted bail, might flee back to their country.

“The exhibits have been taken to the Wildlife Department to confirm if indeed it is a tortoise. We pray that the accused be remanded in custody as we wrap up our investigations,” said Mpena.

When asked if they had anything to say, Maposa told court he had four children he was taking care of since he did not have parents.

“If I am to be locked up, there is nobody to look after them. I plead with this court to temper justice with mercy by granting me bail,” he said.

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His co-accused, Khumalo, said he came to Botswana to look for a job at Ngangane farm and also to see his brother, who works at the same farm.

The pair also pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally and were sentenced to a year in prison for the border jumping offence.

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