It is with deep regret that we confirm an incident that occurred outside Liwonde National Park in Malawi on April 27th, in which a ranger lost his life in the course of a joint operation with Malawi’s police and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to arrest suspected rhino poachers.
Reports that a suspect was in possession of, and trying to sell, a rhino horn obtained from a calf killed in a snare in Liwonde National Park in early April, prompted the joint operation to retrieve the horn and arrest the perpetrator. However, after arresting the suspect and recovering the horn at a trading centre between Ntaja and Mangamba, east of Liwonde National Park, a group of individuals turned hostile. In the events that followed, Ranger Given Gondwe, was separated from the rest of the team and apprehended by the hostile mob. When police returned to the scene with additional support, they discovered that Mr. Gondwe had tragically died of injuries sustained in an attack. A second ranger and two police officers who had also been separated managed to escaped unharmed.
The family of the deceased has been informed and a formal police investigation is underway.
Mr. Gondwe was a dedicated, well-respected ranger who joined Liwonde National Park in 2021. We are deeply saddened by his passing, and extend our sincere sympathies to his family and friends.