Tribal separatists storm Assam jail, free 3 comrades

December 11th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Dec 11 (IANS) Tribal separatists in Assam Thursday stormed a jail by lobbing grenades and managed to free three of their jailed comrades, officials said.A police spokesman said a group of about 15 to 20 militants belonging to the Jewel Garlosa faction of the outlawed Dima Haolam Daoga (DHD), popularly known as the Black Widow, stormed the jail Thursday morning at Haflong town in North Cachar Hills district, about 350 km south of Guwahati.

“The militants lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately before freeing three of their jailed comrades,” a police official said. Authorities suspended more than six jail officials for the incident.

“A massive hunt is on to nab the three militants,” the official said.

The Black Widow is a rebel group fighting for a homeland for the Dimasa tribe in southern Assam. The group is involved in a number of violent attacks on security forces and kidnappings, besides large-scale extortion.

Assam police chief G.M. Srivastava said the guerrillas, who numbered between 15 and 20, later fired indiscriminately to cover their retreat, as they escaped with three of their jailed comrades.

“We have suspended all the policemen who were on duty on disciplinary grounds, for their failure to stop the jail break,” he said.

Those freed by the Black Widow guerrillas included their top leader Daniel Dimasa.

Srivastava said that police and paramilitary forces have started a massive combing operation around Haflong town.

The Black Widow group has been regularly attacking police, paramilitary forces and Bengali- and Hindi-speaking settlers in Assam’s north Cachar Hills district for the last four years since it broke away from its parent group, Dima Halam Daogah (DHD).

While the DHD is now involved in negotiations with the Indian government, the Black Widow faction, led by Jewel Garlossa, has said it will continue to wage a violent separatist campaign for a Dimasa homeland.

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