GUWAHATI: A man from Nagaland, who had masterminded a number of cases of poaching of rhinos in Kaziranga National Park and smuggled the horns to parties in the international black market, has been arrested from Guwahati.
Toyikhu Zhimomi alias Master alias Hokopo Zhimo alias Hokup was arrested by the sleuths of crime branch of police and forest officials of Assam from a guest house in Guwahati.
Official sources said the accused, who hails from Nagaland’s Dimapur town, was wanted in various cases of rhino poaching at Kaziranga.
“He was a rhino horn dealer who used to supply arms to local poachers and funded them. He never used to be in the scene. He used to send teams of shooters to Kaziranga for poaching. The shooters used to come from Manipur and Nagaland. He used to look after that part and the rest by local guys,” the park’s director P Sivakumar told this newspaper.
He said Hokup used to send the poachers to Kaziranga whenever he received orders from other countries. After poaching, the poachers would hand the horns over to him and he would smuggle them to the India-Myanmar border town of Moreh and other international points.
Following his arrest, the accused was taken to Kaziranga where he was subjected to interrogation by forest officials.
The rhino is killed for its horn, considered an aphrodisiac for both men and women. The horn, often smuggled through Nagaland and Manipur, could fetch over Rs.1 crore in the international black market.
Over the past around 20 years, more than 200 rhinos had been killed by the poachers in Assam, mostly in Kaziranga.