Police in Zimbabwe say they are investigating the murder of four suspected illegal ivory buyers whose bodies were found in a wrecked car in western Zimbabwe.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said in a statement Friday three victims were shot in the head and one's head was cut off by unknown assailants, suspected by local villagers to be ivory poachers in a botched deal.

Elephant poaching is rampant in Zimbabwe.

Late last year wildlife authorities reported 106 elephants killed by cyanide poisoning in the western Hwange game reserve by local poachers who sell tusks for shipment through neighboring South Africa to the lucrative illegal Asian markets.