Guwahati: Forest personnel of Pobitora wildlife sanctuary shot dead two persons of a poaching gang that had killed a Rhino on Wednesday evening.
The gang of poachers comprising around eight persons had entered the Pobitora sanctuary and after killing a rhino sawed its horn off and were trying to flee from the scene when they were challenged by the forest guards.
In the ensuing exchange of fire, two poachers were shot dead and the remaining six managed to escape with the rhino horn under the cover of darkness. According to forest department officials, the poachers were heavily armed and had killed an adult male near Tuplung forest camp.
When the forest guards heard the sound of gunshots at around 1 am, they immediately rushed in the direction of the gunshot noise. On spotting the poachers who were trying to escape in a boat, they challenged them to surrender but were replied to by a volley of gunfire.
In Pobitora sanctuary, this was the second incident of poaching and the first case of an encounter in which two poachers were gunned down.
This sanctuary is spread in an area of around 38 sq km and has the unique distinction of having a population of about 93 rhinos concentrated in only 16 sq km area of prime rhino habitat.
It may be mentioned here that the poachers have so far managed to kill 11 rhinos in Kaziranga National Park and one in Manas National Park in the current year alone.
It may be recalled that on February 27, two poachers were shot dead by forest guards in Bagori range of Kaziranga national Park.
These frequent incidents of poaching are attributed to the police and para-military personnel being engaged in the ongoing poll process, said a sources.