Nagaon, June 23: A 32-year-old India Reserve Battalion (IRBN) jawan and a senior cadre of the United People’s Liberation Army (UPLA) were killed in an exchange of fire in an interior Karbi village, 40km from Karbi Anglong district headquarters Diphu, early this morning.
Acting on specific information, a joint team of Karbi Anglong police and IRBN jawans carried out a search operation in Doldoli Hanse Gaon early this morning. Suspected UPLA cadres in army fatigues ambushed the joint team as soon as they reached the entry point of the village. The team fired back and the exchange continued for half-an-hour.
IRBN jawan Goutam Koch, 32, died on the spot. Militants escaped from the site during the exchange of fire.
The police later found the body of the UPLA cadre along with an AK-47 rifle and some bullets. He was later identified as UPLA Doldoli area commander Rajib Engleng.
The police also recovered some extortion letters addressed to prominent persons of the hill district.
Koch, who married five months back, was from Bokoliaghat of Karbi Anglong.
The UPLA has emerged as a very influential outfit within a couple of months with its network spread across Karbi Anglong and neighbouring Dima Hasao district.
On June 5, the militant group carried on its first ambush in Hamren in which Hamren superintendent of police Nityananda Goswami and his personal security officer Ratul Nunisa died.
In Dima Hasao, the police carried out an operation against UPLA in Karbi-dominated Umrangsu area and dismantled two of the outfit’s training camps. Some arms and ammunition, including two pistols, were seized.
A police source said the UPLA does not have more than 50 cadres. Initially, Karbi Anglong police were in the dark about its base in Dimapur where it gets patronage from the NSCN (I-M).
In another unrelated incident, Dima Hasao police today rescued M. Rao who was kidnapped by unknown militants from Maibong on Tuesday.