A suspected timber smuggler was shot dead by a team of forest department personnel under Silonijan Range in Assam’s East Karbi Anglong on Thursday.

As per reports, a team of forest personnel confronted a group of timber smugglers inside the Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary and asked them to surrender.

The gang of smugglers who were involved in the felling of endangered trees opened fire at the forest team forcing them to retaliate.

The exchange of fire lasted for a couple of minutes and the gang fled the spot under cover of darkness.

Later, on searching the area, a bullet-ridden body was recovered by the forest team.

The team also recovered a 7.65mm pistol with two live ammunition and one empty cartridge, a muzzle-loaded gun, a chainsaw and a gallon of petrol from the spot.

Illegal logging and smuggling of valuable timber is rampant in the Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining Nambor Reserve Forest in the Golaghat district.

A gang of timber smugglers felled many valuable trees in the forest which is considered a treasure house of a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Timber smugglers carry firearms and sometimes challenge forest officials who patrol the forest unarmed.

Recently, a forest guard identified as Mohibur Hussain was attacked by the timber mafia inside the Nambor Reserve Forest.

Hussain was attacked with sharp axes after he confronted the gang of timber smugglers cutting down valuable trees inside the protected forest.

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