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KWS rangers kill a poacher, recover rifle Isiolo

25 November 2013, 10:28

Isiolo - A suspected poacher was killed at the Lewa Conservancy and a rifle recovered in a foiled poaching attempt on Saturday night in Isiolo, Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS) said.

KWS Isiolo County Warden Michael Gichure said on Sunday the suspects attempted to sneak through the Protected Areas at midnight when armed rangers laid ambush.

"We gunned down on suspected poacher and injured three others before they fled after fierce fire exchange," Gichure said on Sunday in Isiolo.

He said the KWS rangers were acting on a tip off from the members of the public that the suspects were planning to poach another rhino, four days after a female rhino was killed in the area.

Gichure said KWS and conservancy rangers intensified patrols and increased security surveillance within and outside the Protected areas where they successfully managed to gun down a suspect.

"We believe that these are the same people who managed to kill a pregnant rhino on Sunday last week (Nov. 17) and fled with the trophies," the local KWS chief said.

He said three other suspects escaped with injuries from the battlefield, at the Kisima area of the vast conservancy where poachers had killed several rhinos in the last three years.

The KWS warden confirmed that the suspects were clad in military jungle uniform and were armed with G3 rifles. During the shootout, the KWS rangers also recovered an identity card, a mobile phone and an extra magazine from the dead suspect.

The latest incident comes after a 17-year-old black rhino was killed by the same suspected poachers on Sunday last week at the same spot where hundreds of rangers were keeping vigil.

The poachers invaded Lewa Down Conservancy at the same spot and hurriedly sprayed 30 bullets killing the rhino on the spot before removing the tusks and fleeing to the bush.

The poachers managed to escape unhurt despite hundreds of officers having been deployed to track them with the boost of choppers and intensified surveillance.

The East African nation said it's at a point where it cannot allow further poaching of wildlife because the animal numbers have been reducing at an alarming rate.

The government in August launched an elite paramilitary force to boost the fight against poaching that is to blame for a decline in population of elephant and rhinos in the east African nation.

The new anti-poaching crack unit comprises officers drawn from specialized units of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Administration police and the General Service Unit.

- Xinhua


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