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Rangers 'Terrorize' Villagers for Poisoning 300 Elephants

A herd of African elephants is pictured on Nov. 17, 2012, in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Some villagers in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province, claim that they have been subjected to sever torture by National Parks and Wildlife Management rangers looking for poachers accused of killing more than 300 elephants with cyanide.

Rangers, who have solicited the assistance of the army, are said to have stepped up their hunt for poachers and in the process, reports of their abuse of villagers have also escalated.

One of the alleged victims, Lot Zondo, told the media Tuesday that he and a group of villagers, were brutally assaulted by rangers who burnt their private parts and made them to roll on the ground for five days at a camp in Hwange.

Zondo said the rangers were demanding that they surrender cyanide poison that was being used to poison the elephants.

When Studio 7 contacted him Wednesday, Zondo refused to comment saying he had been gagged by his lawyers, who are preparing to sue the parks department.

However, spokesperson of the Parks and Wildlife Management Caroline Washaya-Moyo, denied the reports of torturing villagers, adding they have a good working relationship with villagers staying near national parks.