Two suspected poachers were shot dead by forest guards in Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam’s Nagaon district during the wee hours of Saturday, officials said.

Police said the deceased were siblings and were aged below 30. (Representative Image)

According to Jayanta Deka, divisional forest officer (DFO), Nagaon, the incident happened between 1am and 1.30am when a team of 15 poachers entered the Charaihagi forest camp area in Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary.

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“They were fishing in Rowmari Beel, which was illegal, but the time of the act was more suspicious. We have a rhino population in Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary and it was suspected that they had intentions to catch rhinos,” he said.

Deka said when the forest guards went to stop them, they attacked and in self defence, forest guards fired on them. “They attacked our guards with machate and other weapons and our guards had to use firearms in self-defense,” he said.

After the firing, the poachers fled the area but two of them sustained grievous injuries and they were taken to a local government hospital where the doctors declared them dead, according to Deka.

“It was dark, and the poachers managed to escape using the opportunity. However, two of them received bullets and died in hospital. We have lodged a first information report (FIR) against the poachers,” he added.

The deceased identified as Jalil Uddin and Sameer Uddin were the residents of Dhingbari Chapari village in Juria. They were siblings and were aged below 30, according to the police.

Superintendent of police (SP), Nagaon district, Swapnaneel Deka said that they have received an official complaint by the forest department and a case will be registered.

“The complaint has been lodged against the two persons who died in the firing. They (forest department) said that 10 to 15 people went to the forest with the intention to kill wildlife animals. We are investigating the matter,” he said.

According to police, the bodies have been sent to Nagaon Civil Hospital for postmortem and their family members have been asked to contact the local police station to receive the bodies.