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3 militants killed in encounter

Dhubri/Kokrajhar/Tezpur Feb. 19: Three suspected militants of the anti-talks National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) were killed in an encounter in Bordol reserve forest under Lakhipur police station in Goalpara district while five suspected cadres, including an accused in the Sijusa killings , were arrested in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts, indicating a fresh crackdown against the outfit.

Three other cadres of the faction were arrested from Bhumka under Gossaigaon police station in Kokrajhar district last night.

The militants were killed in a joint operation of the army’s 13th Sikh Regiment and police. One jawan, whose name the army refused to disclose, sustained bullet injuries.

Police sources in Lakhipur said the army launched the operation based on a tip-off that a group of NDFB militants were taking shelter in Bordol reserve forest, 78km south of Lakhipur police station while Goalpara superintendent of police Luish Aind said it was a joint operation by the police and the army. “The bodies of the three slain militants have been brought to Goalpara for post-mortem but they are yet to be identified. Police officials are cross-checking the records to identify them and this will be done soon,” Aind said.

The army found three pistols (one made in Italy, one in Belgium and one handmade), four electronic detonators, two gelatine sticks, seven rounds of live ammunition, 10 empty cartridges and blank letter heads signed by NDFB leaders on them.

The arrest of three anti-talks NDFB cadres was carried out in a joint operation by 15 Dogra Army based at Gossaigaon and the police. They have been identified as Lalji Brahma alias Lokhra, 24, of Bhumka, Dante alias Daitun alias Deepak Basumatary, 24, of Dansiri, Karbi Anglong, and Danthrai alias Daimalu alias Raju Basumatary, 21, of Simliguri in Udalguri.

Sources in the army said Lalji and Dante were trained in Bhutan and belonged to 28th and 30th batch of the outfit while Danthrai was trained in Bangladesh and was from its 33rd batch. The trio are active in western Assam and have carried out several subversive activities. Sources said the three have confessed to their role in the IED blast that led to the derailment of 2518 Garib Rath Express at Babubil under Gossaigaon police station in Kokrajhar district in July last year.

Two 7.65mm pistols, one 9mm pistol, three magazines, 14 live rounds of bullets of 7.65mm calibre and five live rounds bullets of 9mm calibre were recovered from them.

A senior NDFB cadre — Rajiv Rikhwa — was apprehended by Biswanath Chariali police from Mainaguri in Sonitpur district today. An AK-56 rifle, two magazines, 25 live ammunition and few mobile handsets and sim cards were recovered from the in-charge of Sonitpur’s eastern command unit allegedly involved in the Sijusa killings in November 9 in which nine persons were killed.

The team was led by SP A.P. Tewari.

One more suspected linkman from Dhekiajuli was arrested and the police recovered four handsets from him.

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