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Militant felled in forest shootout

Feb. 20: A KLO militant was killed and a Central Reserve Police Force jawan critically injured in a nightlong gunbattle between the security forces and a combined squad of the United Liberation Front of Asom and KLO militants in dense jungles along the India-Bhutan border yesterday.

The shootout occurred hours after security forces received information that a dozen militants of the combine had assembled on a remote island on the Raydak river, close to the Bengal-Bhutan-Assam junction. A posse of security forces, including the CRPF and a crack district combat force, rushed to the spot.

Inspector-general of police, north Bengal, Bhupinder Singh confirmed that apart from Amal Sarkar all the militants managed to find the escape path in the darkness of the jungle and heavy rain. “The encounter has left one CRPF jawan critically injured and a hard-core militant dead. Jawan Souhan Khure of the 138th battalion, posted at Alipurduar, was rushed to a nursing home in Siliguri with bullet injuries,” he said. He was operated on today.

“We had received a tip-off that rebels from the south Bhutan hills would try to cross the almost dry Raydak along the international border and enter India. A huge force led by Jalpaiguri superintendent of police Siddh Nath Gupta rushed. When challenged, the militants opened fire. The shootout lasted hours.”

Singh said a few other militants had sustained bullet wounds as well but, in all probability, they have been carried by their comrades back to Bhutan.

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