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NDFB ammo couriers held

Tezpur, Jan. 19: Police today apprehended two linkmen of the I.K. Sangbijit faction of the NDFB from near Kolia Bhomora bridge, 8km from here, and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from them.

Deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Gitanjali Doley, who led the operation based on a tip-off, said the two accused, Bipul Khaklari, 39, and Chandradhar Bora, 32, were travelling from Dimapur to Barpeta via Tezpur in a Maruti Alto (AS-05D 7187).

One China-made grenade launcher and 12 shells were recovered from the duo.

The police said Khaklari, who hails from Golaghat district, had confessed his links with Sangbijit and the splinter group’s deputy chief. B. Bidai. He was acting as an arms courier for the outfit. Bora, who hails from Bokajan Madhabpur under Bokajan police station in Karbi Anglong district, is a former homeguard who was working with the outfit for money.

“The consignment was supposed to be handed over to a woman in a remote area of Barpeta district and she was to hand it over to NDFB militants,” Doley said. The woman, Benita Mushahary, was also arrested by Chirang police in Bongaigaon around 1pm along with another NDFB linkman, whose name was not disclosed by the police.

The police suspect the rebels were bringing arms and ammunition to create trouble ahead of Republic Day.

Deputy inspector-general (northern range) V.K. Ramisetti told this correspondent that Khaklari was a regular arms supplier from Dimapur. Earlier, he had supplied an AK-47 rifle to an NDFB rebel at Jayshiddi under Sootea police station in Sonitpur district and another AK-47 near Bhalukpung in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. “After splitting from the Ranjan Daimary faction, the splinter group led by Sangbijit is collecting arms and recruiting cadres,” Ramisetti said.