Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers have killed two suspected poachers and recovered ivory and a firearm as other suspects escaped with gunshot wounds during a fierce battle in Samburu, northern Kenya.
KWS Isiolo KWS Warden Michael Gichure said Wednesday the rangers managed to recover five elephant trophies worth millions of shillings during the battle with poachers on Tuesday night.
Gichure said the officers on a tip-off from the members of the public laid an ambush for the poachers who had hired a taxi to ferry the trophies to Isiolo.
He said a taxi driver defied orders to stop after police erected a temporary barrier to arrest the suspects but instead the poachers spread bullets from the moving vehicle causing fierce fire exchange between them.
"Our officers were in a land cruiser and they managed to chase after them and gun down two of them and injuring two others before they fled into the bush with bullet wounds during the night raid," Gichure said.
He said during the exchange at Kirish, some 65 km from Isiolo town, the ranger and police officers recovered a 303 riffle, eight rounds of ammunition, jungle uniform, five elephant trophies, two mobile phones and 5 loose ammunition.
Gichure said the officers managed to kill one of the notorious poacher believed to be behind the killings of rhinos and elephants in the North tourism circuit.
The killings come two weeks after police killed a poacher at the Lewa Conservancy and a rifle recovered in a foiled poaching attempt.
Gichure said KWS officers and conservancy rangers had intensified patrols and increased security surveillance within and outside the protected areas where they successfully managed to gun down the suspects.
"We believe that these are the same people who managed to kill a pregnant rhino on Sunday two weeks ago and fled with the trophies," he said.
A 17-year-old black rhino was killed two weeks ago at Lewa Conservancy forcing the officers to step up the fight against poaching in the areas.
The poachers invaded well protected Lewa and hurriedly sprayed 30 bullets killing the rhino on the spot before removing the tusks and fleeing into the bush.
The poachers managed to escape unhurt despite hundreds of officers having been deployed to track them down.