Poacher held near Kaziranga - Police interrogation reveals information on two accomplices

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By PULLOCK DUTTA
  • Published 3.11.13
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Jorhat, Nov. 2: A poacher apprehended yesterday from near Kaziranga National Park today led a team of police and forest officials to the carcass of a rhino which was killed on Wednesday.

The horn of the rhino was missing.

Kham Seb, 32, the arrested poacher, revealed during interrogation that he and two of his associates were involved in the killing the rhino and the horn was in possession of his two accomplices.

The officer-in-charge of Bokakhat police station, Manik Goswami, said the poacher, who hails from Lalmati area under Silonijan police station in Karbi Anglong, was apprehended from Sohola chapori near the national park while fleeing.

“They (the poachers) had killed the rhino on Wednesday, but were accosted by a group of forest guards while they were trying to flee. We (police) were keeping a vigil outside the park when we received information about the encounter inside the park. Yesterday, our men caught Kham Seb from a paddy field at Sohola chapori,” Goswami said.

The police official said the arrested poacher is a shooter and was hired by his accomplices to kill the rhino. “He shot the rhino with a .303 rifle,” the police official said. Goswami said the accomplices have been identified and operations are on to apprehend the duo.

“The two may still be hiding inside the forest and our operations are on,” the police official said. The officer, however, declined to reveal their identities. A Kaziranga official said although the forest guards had heard sounds of gunshots on Wednesday and had engaged in an encounter with the group of three poachers, the rhino carcass was recovered only this morning.

“The arrested poacher had led us to the spot near Mewamari and Turtoroni forest camps under Agoratoli range of the park where we found the carcass this morning,” he said.

Kaziranga, which was opened for tourists yesterday for the season, has witnessed the killing of 26 rhinos in the hands of poachers this year. Poachers had killed another rhino on October 24 at Burapahar range but had failed to take away the horn following prompt action by the forest guards.

The park, a world heritage site, has been under tremendous pressure from rhino poachers in recent years as prices of rhino horns have soared in Southeast Asian countries. Sources said a rhino horn fetches about Rs 80 lakh. At least 300 poachers are currently operating near the park, the authorities claim.

The Kaziranga official said the forest staff would have to maintain extra vigil in the next couple of days because of Diwali celebrations as poachers take advantage of the sound of crackers.