Elephant poachers shot dead by rangers at wildlife reserve in Kenya

Gang members gunned down by officers during 'fierce shoot-out' at park on Ugandan border

Tom Barnes
Thursday 07 June 2018 20:50
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Kenya Wildlife Service carries out 'biggest ever' ivory burn to combat the trade

Three poachers have been killed and two others injured following a gun battle with rangers at a Kenyan wildlife reserve.

Wildlife troopers had been on a routine patrol at Mount Elgon National Park, which straddles the border of Kenya and Uganda, when they encountered a gang of five men last Thursday.

The rangers, from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) exchanged fire with the poachers, who were reportedly armed with AK-47 rifles.

Troopers killed three of the group during the shoot-out, while two more suspects were able to escape with minor injuries.

Equipment associated with poaching was later found at the scene, the wildlife service said.

“KWS officers were on patrol inside the park when they spotted the poachers,” Trans Nzoia county police commander Samson ole Kine told Nairobi-based newspaper The Standard.

“A fierce shoot-out ensued and three of the poachers were gunned down while two others escaped. AK-47 rifles were recovered.”

Poaching has declined sharply in Kenya since reaching a peak in 2012, but issues around the illegal hunting activity still persist.

Last year, 69 elephants were killed for their ivory in the country, while a further nine rhinos were also slaughtered.

Earlier this month, three rhinos were found dead with their horns missing in Meru National Park's Rhino Sanctuary, in what Kenya's tourism ministry said was an act of poaching.

Three months earlier, a prominent American investigator of the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade was found dead in his Nairobi home with a stab wound in his neck.

Police county commissioner, Erastus Mbui, said authorities had stepped up security and surveillance operations along the Kenya-Uganda border to deter poachers.

“More officers have been deployed to conduct regular security patrols at the park and ensure wildlife is protected from the poachers,” he said.

“We urge communities around the park to report people they suspect to be on a poaching mission.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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