Bolangir: In an unfortunate incident, a forest guard on duty was shot dead by unidentified miscreants at Rengalibahal under Saintala police limits in the district late on Friday night.
The deceased identified as Jatia Rana along with a colleague was carrying out night patrolling in the forest area last night when they found some armed miscreants venturing into the forest.
The patrolling team chased them in a bid to nab them, however, the miscreants opened fire indiscriminately at the personnel on duty in which Rana sustained critical bullet injuries in his stomach.
The assailants fled the spot soon after committing the crime. The injured forest guard was immediately admitted to Saintala Community Health Centre (CHC) where doctors declared him brought dead, said Rajkishore Harpal, Saintala Ranger.
“The forest guard and a night watcher were patrolling last night. Two to three miscreants armed with country-made guns were heading towards the forest, our guards tried to nab them. They suddenly fired at the personnel leaving Rana critically injured. He succumbed to injuries on the way to the hospital,” Harpal said.
Soon after, senior officers of the forest department along with a team of police from Saintala reached the spot and launched a joint investigation to nab the shooters.
According to sources, poachers and timber mafia have been ruling the roost in the regions which prompted the forest department to intensify the patrolling to check poaching activities.
Mostly, poachers venture into the forest areas at night to hunt wild animals for meat and skin. It is suspected that they might have shot the forest guard in a bid to evade arrest.