Two poachers were shot dead by forest officials in the Bagori forest range of Kaziranga National Park on Thursday. A .303 rifle, four rounds of ammunition and six empty cartridges were found at the spot.
Park director N K Vasu said, "Forest officials killed two poachers in an encounter that took place near the Malani anti-poaching camp in Bagori forest range of the park around 1.20am. A rifle and some ammunition were recovered from the encounter site. No forest staff were injured in the encounter."
Divisional forest officer (Kaziranga) S K Seal Sharma added they had inputs on the existence of a five-member group of poachers inside the park's periphery and had engaged eight anti-poaching teams to foil their attempts to kill animals.
"We had inputs that a group of five poachers had entered the park to kill rhinos. We rushed eight teams to cover all areas of the park, from Kanchanjuri to Burapahar. One of our teams stumbled upon the poachers at Malani. On seeing us, they started firing at the team. We also opened fire in retaliation and the exchange of fire lasted for more than half an hour. Later, we found two bodies at the spot but three of the poachers managed to escape," he said, adding the operation is still on but no one has been arrested so far.