June 26: Militants today attacked an ambulance of the Missionaries of Charity at Silvetta in Karbi Anglong district, barely 24 hours after hurling a grenade on unsuspecting footballers resting after a match.
The attack was reportedly carried out by members of the anti-talks faction of the United Progressive Democratic Solidarity, recently renamed the Karbi Longri (North Cachar Hills) Liberation Front, in retaliation to the killing of four of its activists by the army in May.
The occupants of the ambulance, the driver, a patient and two nurses, Sister Anupama and Sister Callina, escaped unhurt.
The incident, which took place despite top security following yesterday’s grenade attack, has shaken the district administration. It has also raised questions about the security set-up in the twin districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills following the indefinite road and rail blockade from June 21 called by the KNLF. The outfit is protesting against the death of its activists in an encounter with army at Donkamokam recently.
Sources said the two incidents were acts of revenge and more could follow.
Deputy commissioner of Karbi Anglong Anurag Goel said the ambulance was travelling from Joparajan to Dongkamakam when militants hiding in forests in Silvetta, 25 km from the district headquarters of Diphu, opened fire. The patient was being shifted from the Missionary High School to Dongkamakam.
Goel said the attack was an act of desperation. “The militants fired at the ambulance taking into account the immense mileage they would derive out of it. They wanted to spark panic.”
The incident comes at a time when the superior-general of Missionaries of Charity Sister Nirmala is on a tour of the Northeast. Today she visited Shanti Bhawan in Shillong.
Last evening, suspected KNLF activists hurled a grenade on a group of footballers resting after a practice session at Sariajan Chariali. Eight Karbi youths were injured, four of them critically. Rajen Kiling, Rajen Teron, Ranbir Kiling and Mon Singh Tisso were admitted to Dimapur civil hospital.
Bokajan police later arrested a suspected Naga militant, Atuka Asem, while he was travelling in an autorickshaw towards Dimapur.
A hand grenade was recovered from him.
According to Karbi Anglong police, the Naga militant was on an extortion mission and not connected to the attack.
On June 21, suspected Karbi militants opened fire on a hut in Hauraghatarea. There was no casualty.
The progressive faction of the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) has claimed that the recent mass torture of the supporters of ASDC (Progressive) in Hamren subdivision was the handiwork of the pro-talks faction of the UPDS.