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Zimbabwe minister 'astonished' by poaching claims

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A minister in Zimbabwe's shaky coalition government says he is "astonished" by police claims that his vehicle was used by rhinoceros poachers who are also accused of killing a wildlife ranger.

Sessel Zvidzai, deputy local government minister in the former opposition party, said Thursday that he sold the truck two years ago. He expressed surprise over headlines in state media controlled by President Robert Mugabe's party implicating him in poaching.

Three suspects appeared in court in Harare on Wednesday accused of murder and of possessing rhino horn worth $120,000 found in a vehicle still registered in the minister's name.

The former opposition has repeatedly accused Mugabe's media of hate speech and propaganda to smear the party.

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