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Poachers use AK-47 to kill rhinos

Gauhati, India -

An official says poachers using AK-47 assault rifles to hunt rare, one-horned rhinos in India's insurgency-wracked north-east may be tied to the region's insurgent groups.

An Indian forest official shows the bullets used by poachers to shoot a one horned rhinoceros, which was killed and de-horned by the poachers at Karbi hills near Kaziranga National Park. Credit: AFP

Assam state police chief Jayanta Narayan Choudhury says the use of AK-47s suggests the involvement of rebels or former insurgents trying to cash in on the huge demand for rhino horns in China and Southeast Asian nations.

Poaching has been rampant in and around Kaziranga National Park in Assam state, where 21 rhinos were killed in 2012. The poachers used AK-47s to kill nearly a half-dozen rhinos in the past month, Choudhury said on Wednesday.

Rhino horn powder is coveted in some Asian countries as a medicine or an aphrodisiac, and its popularity has led to a rise in rhino poaching. - Sapa-AP

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