Guwahati: The body of the suspected poacher, who escaped from police custody after allegedly cutting away the horn of a rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park, was recovered on Sunday from the Brahmaputra river, a senior official said.

According to Special Task Force (STF) Additional Superintendent of Police Dhruba Jyoti Nath, the body was seen floating in the river, which passes through the Kaziranga National Park (KNP).

“We recovered the body in the afternoon and it was identified as Saidul Islam (45), who had fled from police custody on Friday night. The body has been sent for postmortem examination now,” he told PTI.

The STF of Assam Police was posted in the KNP along with regular Forest Guards, mainly to prevent poaching of rhinos and other animals.

Last month, a rhino was killed allegedly by poachers inside the KNP and its horn was taken away. The suspected poaching of the one-horned animal was the first such incident in the Park in over a year.

On Friday, the STF and Nagaon District Police laid a trap in Batadrava area after the STF had received information regarding a group of poachers trying to sell a rhino horn.

The man whose body was found was caught with a rhino horn by the joint team the same day. Based on the information provided during interrogation, three motorcycles, Rs 50,000 in cash and a mobile phone were recovered.

Police claimed Islam confessed that a .303 rifle used to kill the rhino was hidden at Saiful Tapu under Bagori range of the Kaziranga National Park.

A team of Nagaon Police and STF, along with forest officials, took the person to the location in search of the weapon and to reconstruct the crime on Friday night.

Police claimed that when the team reached the Brahmaputra, Islam under the cover of darkness jumped into the river to escape.

Assam Police DGP G P Singh said an inquiry was ordered into the incident leading to the escape of the accused.

The Kaziranga National Park had recorded zero poaching in 2022, the first time since 1977, while in 2020 and 2021, two rhinos were killed each year.

Also Read | Rhino horn recovered, poacher flees custody in Assam

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