"The incident took place at the Bagori forest range of the park. The poachers fired at the guards forcing them to retaliate. In the ensuing gun battle, two poachers were killed," Vasu said.

According to the forest guards, there were atleast five poachers in the group. While two were killed, three others managed to escape taking advantage of the darkness. Vasu said that one AK-47 rifle and some other ammunition were recovered from the slain poachers. The bodies of the poachers have been handed over to the police, he added.

More than 30 rhinos have been killed by poachers in and around the protected areas of Assam since last year. The rise in wildlife crime - particularly poaching of one-horned rhino - in Assam even forced the state government to request for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The federal investigation agency has registered three cases of poaching, which are being probed.


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