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Rs 20000 for lead on poacher

- Mastermind who killed 3 rhinos in Orang disappears with family

Jorhat, Dec. 3: Orang National Park authorities have announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for any information on poacher Abdul Rashid, who was involved in the killing of three rhinos there last month.

Rashid, a resident of Rangagora village, located on the fringes of the national park, has also made two more attempts to kill rhinos this year.

The park’ divisional forest officer, Sushil K. Daila, said Rashid’s posters would be pasted at vantage points near the park and at Mangaldoi town.

Rashid was involved in the killing of two rhinos, a mother and her calf, in the park on November 10 and another rhino on November 3. One rhino each had been killed in 2011 and 2012. The 78.81 square km national park has around 100 rhinos.

Daila said despite several raids being conducted at Rashid’s house at Rangagora, he could not be apprehended. “He disappeared with his entire family soon after the killing of the two rhinos on November 10.”

Sources said the police have managed to identify the mobile phone number used by Rashid lately.

“This phone was traced to Dimapur soon after the November 10 killings,” a police officer investigating the rhino killings in Orang said.

Daila said the three poachers — Nural Islam, Isuf Ali and Momin Ali — who were apprehended on Saturday from near the national park, have revealed during interrogation that Rashid was the mastermind.

The trio were apprehended while they were trying to enter the park. Two .303 rifles and ammunition were recovered from them.

“Rashid and a shooter from Nagaland were supposed to join the three before they entered the park,” Daila said.

The DFO said Rashid, who was involved with various groups of poachers active near the national park, was arrested in 2010. But after coming out of jail, he got involved in poaching again.

Rashid was injured in a gun battle with forest guards in the park on April 9 this year. He, however, managed to escape with three others.

A few days later, Orang authorities, with the help of the police, had apprehended Yetoho Zimo, a resident of Dimapur, from near the national park. He was apparently hired by Rashid. A .303 rifle was found on him.