Four ULFA militants killed in Assam shootout

February 16th, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by admin  

Guwahati, Feb 16 (IANS) Four militants belonging to the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) were killed Saturday in a shootout with security forces in the northeastern state of Assam, officials said. A police spokesman said the shootout took place early Saturday at village Safrai Changmai Gaon in Sivasagar district, about 390 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

“A joint army and police team raided the village on specific information that a group of ULFA militants was taking shelter in a house. The encounter lasted for about an hour in which four militants were killed,” a police official said.

Security forces later recovered an AK 47 assault rifle, a 9 mm pistol, three grenades and ammunition from the dead rebels.

“The group entered the area with a specific mission to carry out a major terror strike and we consider this as a big success.

“The ULFA group threatened the owner of the house to give them shelter for the night, although we got wind of their plot,” the official said.

The ULFA, fighting for an independent homeland since 1979, is under pressure as security forces have launched a massive anti-insurgency drive in the state.

The recent raids comes in the wake of leads provided by Manoj Tamuly, an ULFA militant, who was arrested by police last week from the outskirts of Guwahati.

Tamuly during interrogation told the police and intelligence officials about a plot by the ULFA to hijack an aircraft for which cadres received specialized 18-day training somewhere in western Assam about six months ago from a Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) operative.

On Friday, India’s cabinet secretary K. M. Chandrashekhar held a high-level security meeting of the Unified Command in Guwahati in the wake of ULFA’s hijacking plot.

“Certain key strategies were discussed in detail. The pressure is on definitely on the ULFA now,” Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, commander of the army’s Four Corps, heading Assam’s counter-insurgency operations, said.

The security meeting decided among other things to mount pressure on ULFA sympathizers. The outfit has suffered heavy reverses in the past two weeks with at least 13 rebels arrested from areas around Guwahati in separate raids, including three in the adjoining Meghalaya state - the latest in a stepped up military crackdown.

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