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Surrender reveals rebel nexus

- Police in dark about tie-up between Bru-Hmar militants

Silchar, Oct. 5: Two militant gangs operating in the Barak valley region in south Assam had forged a link two years ago for their tactical gains, but this piece of vital information could not be accessed either by police and security forces or their intelligence agencies for a long time.

The police in Hailakandi district in south Assam stumbled on this information in the third week of September when a sector commander and a cadre of one of the militant gang surrendered.

According to a senior intelligence source of the state police, this nexus between the United Democratic Liberation Front of Brus (UDLFB) and the Hmar Peopleís Conference (Democratic) for the exchange of the tactical inputs and the training of the formerís volunteers by the most experienced Hmar insurgents was revealed during a phase of debriefing of these two surrendered Bru (also known as the Reangs) militants in the district headquarters town of Hailakandi last month.

The two rebels ó Debendra Reang, 27, and Ratan Reang, 20, ó hail from jhum farming families of the Bru community who have settled in Katlicherra block in Hailakandi district.

They surrendered on September 21 with a cache of arms. While Debendra is a resident of Remapunji near Gharmurrah in Katlicherra block, Ratan is from Banglabasa village on the Assam-Mizoram border.

Ratan disclosed that he was given advanced training in the use of the modern weapons at the Hmar habitat of Hmarkhawlien village along National Highway 53.

A senior intelligence official here said he was astonished to learn as to how his agency had failed to dig out the information regarding the training obtained by Bru militants in a hideout of the HPC (D), an outfit active in Assamís Cachar and Dima Hasao districts, Mizoram and Manipur.

The UDLFB was earlier known as the UDLA, which came into being in 2002. The leader of the Bru militants is a veteran guerrilla, Dhaynaram Reang.

Debendra and Ratan surrendered to Hailakandi SP Brojendrajit Sinha at his office, handing over an AK-56 assault rifle, 13 rounds of ammunition and a 9mm submachine gun.

Debendra confessed that he was fed up by the tortuous existence in the jungles as fugitives, and along with his junior colleague Ratan, had made up his mind in August to surrender to the police in order to lead a life like any other civilian.

The surrendered former commander also disclosed that the total number of the active members of this gang now stands at 50.