5 poachers held in Assam with AK-56, ammunition

Police in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district on Monday nabbed five poachers and recovered huge cache of arms, including an AK-56 assault rifle, and ammunition from their possession.

A senior police official said the seized arms and ammunition included the AK 56 rifle with 37 rounds of live ammunition, one .303 rifle and seven rounds of live ammunition and a single barrelled muzzle gun.

“The recovery of the AK series rifle from the possession of the poachers indicate the involvement of militant outfits in the rhino poaching,” said the official while adding that a detailed interrogation of the five will reveal more about the allege nexus between the poachers and militant outfits.

“The poachers normally use the .303 rifle. On the other hand, most of the militant outfits in the region use AK series rifles,” he said, stressing that the militant-poachers nexus cannot be ruled out.

Senior officials of the Assam forest department had earlier hinted involvement of the Karbi Anglong based militant outfit Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT) after horns of two rhinos were chopped off the alive animals near the Kaziranga  National Park last month.

Police in various districts have so far nabbed 16 suspected poachers in last four days, the officials said.

A total of 42 rhinos have been killed in and around the national park this year out of which 15 were killed by poachers.

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