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32 NDFB rebels surrender

Tezpur, Dec. 3: Thirty-two militants belonging to Ranjan Daimary faction of NDFB and an Ulfa cadre surrendered before security forces here and deposited a huge cache of arms and ammunition.

The surrender of the militants is seen as a blow to the Ranjan Daimary faction with which the Centre’s interlocutor P. C. Haldar is likely to initiate a dialogue soon.

The militants ceremonially laid down arms at a function organised by the Red Horns division of the army at Tezpur’s Nehru Maidan in Sonitpur district, nearly 180-km from Guwahati.

The 32 NDFB militants included a woman cadre.

Army officials said the surrendered NDFB militants underwent training in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China.

The function was attended by GOC of Gajraj Corps, Lt Gen. Shakti Gurung, Assam inspector-general of police (Special Branch) Pallav Bhattacharya, A.Y.V. Krishnan, the DIG of northern range, Faijul Hussin, the additional chief magistrate, Sonitpur, and Rajen Borthakur, Tezpur MLA, among others.

Lt Gen. Gurung told reporters that the militants hailed from Kokrajhar, Chirang, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Kamrup districts and had joined the outfits after 2000.

The NDFB militants told the army and Assam police about their willingness to lay down arms nearly a month ago as a result of constant effort by security forces.

The rebels deposited four AK series rifles, 24 pistols and nine hand grenades, along with a huge quantity of explosives and ammunition.

Sources said Ulfa militant Putul Hatibaruah alias Sanjib Gogoi, who surrendered today, belonged to the Paresh Barua group of Ulfa.

Gurung, when asked about the whereabouts of Barua, said he might be hiding somewhere in Myanmar or China.

and security forces were keeping close watch on the movement of cadres in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to trace the definite whereabouts of Baruah.