One killed as smugglers, Nepal Army exchange fire in Parsa National ParkThe smugglers had reached the core area of the national park in search of wildlife during the lockdown period.
One man was killed when a group of wildlife smugglers exchanged gunfire with Nepal Army patrolling squad in Parsa National Park on Friday morning, according to Amir Maharjan, chief conservation officer of the park.
A Nepal Army warrant officer has sustained bullet injuries in the gunfire.
The incident occurred at around 9:40 in the morning some 500 metres east of Mahadev River. Maharjan said a group of around 11 smugglers had reached the Mahadev River area of the national park to hunt for wildlife. The river serves as a watering hole for the wildlife in the park, said Maharjan.
Maharjan said when a patrolling team of Nepal Army from Siddhibox Battalion reached the area, smugglers opened fire on the patrolling team. The Army fired in retaliation and killed a smuggler on the spot. He has been identified as Bhim Lal Moktan, a 45-year-old from Padampokhari in Hetauda sub-metropolis.
Maharjan said the smugglers might have come in search of wild animals to take advantage of the nation-wide lockdown over coronavirus concerns.
The warrant officer (second class) seriously injured in the incident has been named as Min Bahadur Chantyal. He has sustained bullet injuries on his thigh. He is receiving treatment at National Medical College in Birgunj. “The bullet went through his right thigh,” said Maharjan.
Maharjan said they have increased monitoring in the area after reports of wood and animal smugglers becoming active during the lockdown period surfaced.