By Mai Al Abria — MUSCAT: April 15 – The Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Office of the Conservation of the Environment at the Diwan of Royal Court, in a joint operation arrested a gang of alleged poachers who opened fire at wildlife wardens in Wadi Sareen Nature Reserve in February. The wardens who were on patrol in the sprawling nature reserve in the Wilayat of Al Amerat, home to protected Arabian Gazelle and Arabian Tahr, were attacked by unidentified gunmen who fired a volley of shots at their vehicle. One shot narrowly missed one of the wardens, while another bullet slammed into their vehicle.
Shocked by the incident, the ROP joined forces with the Office of the Conservation of the Environment and other security agencies to track down the attackers. Investigations led to the arrest of one of the gunmen, who later led the police to the rest of the gang. Rifles and ammunition found in their possession were seized as well. During interrogations, the alleged suspects confessed to their role in firing upon the wardens as well as targeted the protected wildlife of the nature reserve. In a statement, Yassir al Salami, Director-General of the Office of the Conservation of the Environment, praised the efforts of ROP and other security agencies involved in successfully capturing those behind the heinous attack on rangers tasked with protecting endangered animals.
“They deserve maximum punishment stipulated under the law for imperilling the lives of our wardens, who have been making great personal sacrifice to keep our treasured wildlife out of harm’s way. I request the legal authorities to use the full force of the law to punish them for their crimes, and to confiscate their vehicles and other assets used in their criminal operations in accordance with the law,” he said. Al Salami also called on the general public to report any suspicions of poaching to the authorities. “Preservation of Oman’s wildlife is the responsibility of all, and the personnel deployed to accomplish this task deserve the right to be safe and secure,” he added.