Two Kenya Wildlife Service officers were killed in gunfights with suspected poachers at Kipini Conservancy in Tana River county on Thursday. A poacher was killed while the rest escaped unhurt.
A gun, three rifle magazines and 208 bullets were recovered. The dead are the unit commanding officer and an anti-poaching unit ranger. Rrangers on patrol encountered a gang of poachers believed to be planning to kill elephants in the forest.
A gun battle ensued and one ranger was killed forcing the team to retreat. Six hours later, in an attempt to recover the body of their slain colleague, the KWS rangers and a reinforcement team including the Kenya Police, were ambushed by the poachers.
Another KWS officer was killed. It was not immediately clear whether any of the gang members were injured. The bodies of the slain officers were taken to Malindi Hospital mortuary.
They will be flown to Nairobi as burial arrangements are made. A joint operation by KWS and the police has launched a manhunt for the poachers. Six KWS rangers have been killed by poachers since December 2011.