Lakhimpur: Three timber smugglers were apprehended and an elephant was seized by the personnel of the Assam forest department from Lakhimpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

Forest officials said that guards of the department spotted a group of seven people from Arunachal Pradesh moving inside the Dulung reserve forest. They also had an elephant to carry illegally felled trees.

When the guards challenged them, four of them fired and managed to flee.

The forest personnel returned the fire and apprehended the other three persons, officials said.

They seized logs of wood and the elephant.

Timber smugglers from Arunachal Pradesh are engaged in the felling of trees inside the forest with the help of some people in Assam and efforts are on to nab them, officials said.

Patrolling in the forests along the interstate border has been further intensified.

A female elephant was killed in an exchange of fire between forest personnel and suspected timber smugglers from Arunachal Pradesh inside the newly notified Dehing Patkai National Park recently.

In a bid to defuse tension along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh inter-state border following reports of encroachment and destruction of forests, Assam Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya visited Joyrampur-Chilonibasti near the inter-state border at the directive of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in early July.

An inter-state border districts coordination meeting between the civil and police administrations and forest department officers of Dibrugarh district of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district was also held last week to maintain peace in the area.

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804.1 km long border.

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