Two people were killed and 10 arrested in a gun fight with 12 suspected rhino poachers in the Kruger National Park, the park’s spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said on Monday.
“It is a relentless war with people who don’t want to give up,” said Phaahla.
One of those arrested after the shootout in the Skukuza section of the park on Sunday was a South African police officer, he said.
Another is believed to be a retired commander from Frelimo (Frente de Libertação Moçambique) in Mozambique. He was wearing the movement’s uniform.
Two pairs of fresh rhino horn were found on two gang members, and five heavy-calibre weapons were seized.
The arrests were the culmination of a multi-agency, intelligence-driven operation.
During the shootout, when the 12 alleged poachers were finally confronted, two died.
One of the 10 survivors was seriously injured and is in hospital under police guard.
None of the park’s environmental unit, the police, and other operatives involved in catching the suspected poachers were harmed.
Those who were arrested are expected to appear in the Skukuza Regional Court soon.
Phaahla praised the rangers and those involved in the operation.
“This is what they face on a daily basis,” he said.