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Soldier, accomplice fined for possession of lion trophy

By Judith Sibanda

A Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Officer and an accomplice have escaped a nine-month prison term after a Victoria Falls magistrate slapped them with a ZWL2400 fine each after they were found in possession of a lion trophy.

Anymore Sikuka (37) a soldier stationed at Infantry Battalion in Hwange, Buuya Sikuka (48) employed at Victoria Falls Hospital and Vester Chimidzi from Mkhosana suburb were facing accusations of selling a lion head and skin to Bhekinkosi Phuthi, an undercover police officer.

The state alleges that on November 10 last year, police received information to the effect that there was a lady in possession and selling a fresh lion head and skin and other trophies.

Acting on the tip-off, the police laid a trap and Phuthi contacted Chimidzi posing to be an interested buyer.

The two agreed to meet outside Ok Supermarket in the resort town.

On the same day at around 10 pm, the reaction team met with Chimidzi alone and agreed on a payment of US$ 8 500 for the trophy.

Chimidzi then phoned his accomplices who came driving a Toyota Gaia. Chimidzi proceeded to the car and took a sack which had the head and the skin leading to their arrests.

Buuya was however acquitted after the state failed to provide any evidence against.

The total value of the lion trophy was US$ 20 000.

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