Guwahati/Imphal, May 2: The arrest of a top United National Liberation Front (UNLF) militant in Guwahati capped the killing of five of the outfit’s members in Manipur’s Chandel district since yesterday.
The UNLF general secretary Narengbam Marjit Singh was arrested in Guwahati while the five activists were gunned down in Chandel’s Somtal area last night.
Four members of another Manipur outfit — the Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and its armed wing — the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were also arrested by Guwahati police yesterday.
Additional superintendent of police (city) Rajen Singh said the UNLF leader, Marjit Singh alias Thabal alias Iboyaima, aged 49, was arrested from a rented house in Panjabari late last night by Manipur police, with the assistance of city police. “A laptop, Rs 47 lakh in cash, a digital camera and some incriminating documents were seized from him,” Singh said.
The UNLF general secretary was produced in the chief judicial magistrate’s court today and will be taken to Manipur on transit remand.
Tipped off that the rebel leader was holed up in Guwahati, Manipur police coordinated with police in Guwahati and put him under round-the-clock surveillance. He was finally arrested last night. The police suspect that the UNLF general secretary was coordinating the extortion drive from the city.
Director-general of Manipur police, Yumnam Joykumar Singh, termed the arrest of Marjit as the “biggest achievement” for his team in recent times. He told the media in Imphal that the arrest was also the result of relentless surveillance by Manipur police in cities like Calcutta, Guwahati, Dimapur, Shillong and Bangalore. “We have information that government employees are travelling to these cities regularly to pay militant outfits. We realised that we needed to bust these hideouts,” he added.
The DGP said Marjit Singh was also the finance secretary of the UNLF and was running the entire extortion and fund-collecting network for the outfit. The Manipur police chief also appreciated the help of Assam police.
In another blow to the outfit, city police arrested four militants, three belonging to the PLA and one to the RPF from a hotel in Fancy Bazar last night.
In Manipur, security forces gunned down five UNLF members and recovered four weapons in a well-coordinated operation in Somtal bordering Myanmar yesterday.
A defence source said the security forces recovered four of the bodies and were trying to retrieve another which had fallen into a deep gorge. Two AK-47 rifles, one lethod gun and a pistol were found on the slain militants.
Security forces have been engaged in intermittent skirmishes in Somtal and nearby areas with the UNLF since the army moved into the area in December last year. However, this is a “big blow” to the outfit, the source said.
The source said the operation launched under the command of the inspector-general, Assam Rifles (south), was the result of a 15-day long planning, surveillance and movement of combined troops of the Assam Rifles and the army.