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Anti-poaching soldiers arrest four in S.African park

Four Mozambicans suspected of poaching in the Kruger National Park were arrested, South Africa’s defence ministry said Monday, two weeks after the army began patrols to crack down on rhino killings.

“Our national parks are our assets, we will protect them for the future and those who pose any threats to our animals will meet the full might of the law. We have declared war with poachers in all our parks,” said defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

The four had a hunting rifle, binoculars, an axe and cellphones, added a ministry statement.

Soliders were deployed to the Kruger’s borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe on April 1, after South African National Parks asked the military to help stop the rhino bloodbath in the giant park, which lost 146 animals last year.

Between January and March, poachers killed 46 rhinos in the park, out of a national total of 71.

Home to more than 70 percent of the world’s remaining rhinos, South Africa lost 333 rhinos last year.

The surge — fuelled by use of rhino horn in Asian traditional medicine — has been blamed on organised syndicates.