| The arrested UNLF cadres in Guwahati on Thursday. Picture by Eastern Projections |
Guwahati, Aug. 19: Assam police today arrested 10 United National Liberation Front (UNLF) militants from different parts of the city and recovered several gadgets, including a satellite phone, and Rs 2.64 lakh in cash from the rebels.
Superintendent of police (operations), Mugdha Jyoti Mahanta, said the arrests were the outcome of an operation based on specific information in the Chachal, Motghoria and Hengerabari areas of the city.
Two among the arrested militants were women cadres, Mahanta said.
“Along with the militants, the police also arrested a person who had given shelter to the cadres for quite some time. The militants are in the rank of self-styled major, lieutenant colonel, captain and corporal. They were staying in rented houses. Besides a satellite phone and cash, we have recovered 20 mobile phones, two cars, five laptop computers, three video cameras and several credit cards and ATM cards of different banks,” the SP said.
The police official said he was surprised to find several gadgets with the cadres, which confirmed that the militants were staying in the city for a long time and with a specific purpose. He said preliminary investigations indicated that the militants had carried out various subversive activities and extortion in Manipur from their base in the Assam capital.
Mahanta, quoting statements of the arrested militants, said the UNLF cadres had not carried out any subversive activities in Assam and stayed in the city to evade Manipur’s security agencies to carry out their operations in that state.
“But we are not taking the militants’ statements at face value and interrogating them to detect any of their illegal activity in Assam. Even though the police had been able to apprehend the UNLF militants on earlier occasions, today’s catch was the single biggest,” the SP said.
He said the Manipur police had been informed about the arrest of the militants, who would be produced in court tomorrow.
The UNLF, an insurgent group of Manipur, was formed under the leadership of Areambam Samrendra Singh on November 24, 1964.
The outfit operates in areas of Assam and is believed to be maintaining close association with many other insurgent groups of the Northeast. It is known as an outfit that primarily targets security forces. On May 1, Assam police arrested two UNLF militants in Guwahati.
According to police, the outfit’s vice-chairman, K.S. Tomba, was arrested along with a close aide, self-styled lieutenant colonel Abu, from a rented house in the city.
“Guwahati is considered a safe haven for many militant groups from other states as the outfits believe they will not be under watch here, given that the state police already have their plate full with various Assam outfits operating here,” a senior police official said.
“The fact that almost all communities of the Northeast have a fair presence in Guwahati makes it easier for these groups to find logistical support to set up base here,” he added.
Sources in Assam police said the laptops recovered from the militants today could throw more light on their activities. “We are expecting a lot of information,” a police source said.