THREE suspected poachers were on Sunday night gunned down by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers at Kyulu in Tsavo. One gun and several bullets were recovered from the suspects during the 10pm shoot out.
Among those killed is a KWS Ngulia Rhino sanctuary fence attendant and a former Kenya army officer. One of the suspects escaped on foot.
KWS assistant director in charge of Tsavo conservation area, Robert Obrien said the men were going to Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary where they are suspected to have planned to poach Rhinos.
Obrien said the KWS Ngulia Rhino sanctuary attendant was leading the suspects in the mission. "We had been suspecting the man but finally got him. He is behind the killing of rhinos in Ngulia,"he said.
Obrien said the four suspects resisted an order to stop by KWS rangers.
"We usually lay ambush along the way some few metres from the Mombasa-Nairobi highway. The four alighted from a taxi and when they were ordered to stop, they instead shot in the air and our men responded swiftly and gunned down the three," said Obrien while speaking to the Star on the phone yesterday morning from the scene of the incident.
He said one of the suspects who escaped on foot, was pursued by the rangers but dropped a panga along the way and is still at large.
"We are still pursuing the suspect until we get him. We discovered that one of them is a Kenya army officer whose job identification card expired in 2005. We are not sure whether he retired or not but we are still investigating," said Obrien.
He said they recovered three pangas, one axe, three different types of poison, fresh pineapples, a pair of gloves, face masks and four loaves of bread.
Obrien said the poachers poison the pineapples before feeding them to rhinos and elephantS. "They carry the bread to eat during their poaching mission," he said.
About five Rhinos have been killed at the sanctuary in the recent past. Kenya has lost 214 elephant's and 36 rhinos to poaching this year.