- Wild life rangers have killed two Italians on Sunday
- The man in his 50s was shot with his 20-year-old son near Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe
- The rangers who were following them heard voices in the thicket of the forest and fired gun shots at them
- Authorities claim the incident was a case of mistaken identity
- Investigations continue whilst Italian embassy officials contact their family
An AFP report in Harare has it that an Italian father and son were shot by wild life rangers on Sunday in the Mana Pools National Park, northern Zimbabwe in what parks authority claim was a ‘mistaken identity’.
The man, 50 who lived in Zimbabwe with his 20-year-old son were shot dead by anti-poaching patrol near the park while the patrol unit followed them.
"The rangers (were) following the spoor of the poachers, they later saw movement in the thicket, heard voices and opened fire accidentally shooting and killing... the pair," the parks authority said in a statement.
Emmanuel Fundira, head of the Safari Operators Association, who confirmed the report to AFP, said that the parks department in Zimbabwe occasionally hired private individuals to assist them by providing logistical support for anti-poaching patrolling.
The murdered Italian, named as Claudio Chiarelli was said to be an accomplished professional hunter who brought European tourists to Zimbabwe.
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"Claudio and some colleagues were on a trip with a parks anti-poaching unit when a ranger came from nowhere and shot at them while they were standing outside their vehicle…..we understand it was a case of mistaken identity." Fundira claimed.
According to an Italian embassy official, who spoke on unanimity not to be named, Chiarelli, comes from Padua, and had lived in Zimbabwe since 1982, where his son known as Massimiliano was born.
"We can confirm it happened yesterday at Mana Pools national park but we are not aware of the exact details," said the embassy official.
The official claims that efforts were under way to contact the family of Chiarelli. "We are in contact with the family. It's a tragedy. The loss of a father and a son, and also for Zimbabwe for the bad publicity it will generate."
Meanwhile, the parks department has confirmed that an investigation into the incident was underway.