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Armed poachers kill two KWS rangers in Kenya


18:20, July 19, 2013

NAIROBI, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Suspected armed poachers killed two Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers in two separate gunfights while responding to a poaching incident in Kipini Conservancy in Tana River County in coast of Kenya.

KWS Corporate Affairs Manager Paul Udoto said in a statement on Friday that a poacher was also killed in one of the incidents that also saw AK47 rifle, three rifle magazines and 208 rounds of ammunitions recovered.

"The two are the unit commanding officer and a ranger belonging to an anti-poaching unit in the area. The rest escaped unhurt," Udoto said.

He said the first incident occurred when the rangers on a patrol mission in the area encountered an unknown number of a poaching gang believed to be on an elephant poaching mission in the dense forest.

"The rangers came under fierce gun fight which killed the first ranger forcing the team to retreat. Six hours later, in an attempt to recover the body of the slain ranger, the team of KWS rangers and a reinforcement team including the Kenya Police, moved into the scene oblivious that the gang had laid an ambush," he said.

He said the KWS rangers and the police came under a second fierce gun fight which killed the KWS officer commanding the unit but it was not immediately clear whether the gang members who escaped were injured in the gun battle.

According to Udoto, a joint security operation by KWS and Kenya Police is underway to pursue and arrest the poaching gang in the area.

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