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Cop up for kidnapping, poaching

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A 37-YEAR-OLD police officer based at Fairbridge Support Unit in Bulawayo allegedly kidnapped an apostolic sect member after finding him praying in a bushy area and allegedly kept him hostage for two days so he could help him poach elephants.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

Edmore Bhibhi of Fairbridge Support Unit denied the kidnapping charge when he appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Sharon Rosemani yesterday seeking bail.

He was represented by lawyer Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company Legal Practitioners.

Prosecutor Takunda Ndovorwi told the court that on July 15, Bhibhi and his alleged three accomplices, who are still at large, found Paul Panganai (23) praying at the Zambezi Gorge.

The suspects, who were armed with two AK47 assault rifles, commandeered the complainant to escort them in their hunt for elephants. After a long hunt during the night, the group managed to spot and gun down two elephants before collecting the tusks.

Panganai was released the following evening and ordered not to disclose the matter to anyone.

However, Panganai, reported the matter to police, leading to Bhibhi’s arrest after it emerged that he was involved in the crime.

Police detective Timothy Moyo (29) told the court Bhibhi was not a suitable candidate for bail as he was likely to interfere with investigations.

“The other three accomplices are still at large and if the accused is released he is likely to communicate with them thereby jeopardising the whole investigation process,” Moyo said.

“Moreso, the firearm which was used was not recovered so he might continue committing the offence, plus the accused might skip bail because as a justice man he knows that the offence might nail him to jail for a longer period as he had tried to run away to Chinhoyi.”

But Bhibhi’s lawyer argued that it was unjust to hold his client in remand prison.

The bail application is expected to continue today.

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