MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Authorities in Mozambique arrested five police officers for colluding with a poacher in the illegal sale of a rhino horn, the state news agency reported Thursday.
Rhino poaching is on the rise across southern Africa because the horn is much sought after for Asian traditional medicine. In South Africa alone, 1,200 rhinos were poached last year.
Police came across the poacher at the Limpopo National Park, in the southern province of Gaza carrying the horn but instead of arresting him, they helped him sell it and pocketed half of the $24,500 he obtained.
With most of Mozambique's rhinos extinct, police believe he poached the animal across the border in South Africa where 90 percent of the world's rhinos reside.
The officers and the poacher were arrested a day later, after a tipoff, said the press report. Police are still searching for the person who purchased the horn.
In Namibia, the local press agency reported that a court has refused to grant bail to a Chinese national believed to be a central figure in the country's largest rhino horn smuggling network.
Wang Hui is believed to be linked to three other Chinese nationals who were arrested after they were caught with 14 rhino horns and a leopard skin hidden in their luggage as they tried to travel to Hong Kong, the Namibian Press Agency reported.
The men will appear in court again later this month.