The WWF said in a statement that suspected poachers belonging to the Seleka rebel group have entered one of Africa's most unique elephant habitats in the Central African Republic, and park guards saw them shooting in the direction of elephants.

According to the WWF, a group of 17 armed men who presented themselves as belonging to Central African Republic's transitional government, which is led by the Seleka rebels, entered the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park on Monday and headed for Dzanga Bai, known locally as the "village of elephants," a clearing where up to 200 elephants congregate every day.

Researchers in the park said they heard shots coming from the Bai. Also on Monday, two park guards saw the armed men inside the viewing tower shooting in the direction of the elephants.