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Seven killed in Tripura ambush

Agartala, March 29: Heavily-armed militants of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) gunned down seven persons, including five jawans of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF), at the S.K. Para area under Dhalai district’s Manu police station this afternoon.

Police sources said the militants ambushed the jawans belonging to the Charlie company of the RPSF’s first battalion when they were patrolling the remote area where a railway track is being laid. The jawans had been posted at Nalkata in the district to provide security to the railway construction workers.

The militants opened fire from a hilltop when the jeep in which the jawans were travelling moved down a slope in the Longtarai hill ranges. Four RPSF jawans, the jeep driver and his helper perished on the spot, while one of the injured soldiers, Vinod Kumar, died at the G.B. Hospital in the state capital later this evening.

Another injured jawan, Banikanta Baruah, is recovering at Manu hospital.

The slain jawans are head constables Mohammed Kamaluddin and Shantaram Bharali and constables Naziruddin and Mangatram, while the driver and the helper of the requisitioned jeep were Pintu Debnath and M. Debnath respectively.

The sources said militants took away three carbines and two self-loading rifles after the ambush.

A large posse of police, Tripura State Rifles and CRPF jawans under Dhalai superintendent of police Saurav Tripathi has launched a combing operation to nab the militants. However, no arrest has been made.

Senior railway officials in Guwahati will arrive here tomorrow to work out a contingency plan following the killing.

The construction of the 110-km railway track between Kumarghat and Agartala has been peppered with militant attacks and abduction of workers. However, this is the first time jawans of the railway protection force were killed.

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