Vietnam officials to visit S.Africa over rhino poaching

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A delegation from Vietnam will visit South Africa next week to discuss ways to stem the growth rhino poaching, with nearly 300 animals killed so far this year, the South African government said Friday.

"Of concern is that a lot of arrests of poachers in South Africa ... have been linked to criminal syndicates that have links to Vietnam," environment ministry spokesman Albi Modise said.

The aim of next week's meeting was to "arrive at some sort of mechanism" to address rhino poaching, he said.

Since January this year, 279 animals have been killed in parks around the country for their horns, according to figures by the national parks authorities.

Poaching wiped out 333 rhinos last year in South Africa, up from 13 in 2007.

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In April the army was deployed in the Kruger National Park, the country's premier safari reserve to help fight poachers.

This year alone 169 rhinos have been killed from the park.

Last month two Vietnamese men, Duc Manh Chu and Phi Hung Nguyeng were jailed for 10 and eight years respectively after they were found with rhino horns in their luggage at Johannesburg's airport last year.

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