A Pakistani terrorist captured in Jammu and Kashmir told investigators he was part of a 15-member group on a suicide mission that was trained in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, security sources said on Thursday.
Mohammad Naveed Yakub was caught by security forces after he and an accomplice ambushed a Border Security Force convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Wednesday, killing two soldiers and injuring eight. The accomplice -- Mohammad Nomen alias Nomin – was killed in retaliatory fire.
He infiltrated into India over a month back in a batch of four – two of whom are still unaccounted for, officials said. The class five dropout had no idea where the other 11 terror trainees are, sources added.
“Mohammad Naveed Yakub alias Usman was part of a 15-member group trained by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). All were trained in two modules—the Daura-e-Aam and the Daura-e-Khaas,” a top intelligence source told HT.
The 21-day Daura-e-Aam is a basic combat course while the Daura-e-Khaas is an advanced combat course lasting three months.
The National Investigation Agency took over the probe on Thursday and intends to make him speak to his relatives across the border to gather more information. A formal request will soon also be sent to Pakistan to seek information about him under a Saarc protocol, first invoked to get details about the 26/11 Mumbai attackers.
When asked, however, NIA director general Sharad Kumar refused to comment.
“It will be too premature to divulge any information at this juncture as it may hamper the probe,” Kumar said.
But sources said Naveed allegedly told the interrogators that Wednesday’s attack on the BSF truck was a last-minute decision, and that the terrorists were given a list of potential targets, including the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. Hundreds of Hindu devotees use the Jammu-Srinagar highway this time of the year to get to the holy shrine of Amarnath.
In sharp contrast to images of Naveed smiling at television cameras after his arrest, he appeared incoherent and shocked after he saw Nomen’s blood-splattered body, the source said.
Officials also said he changed his story twice on some points, including when they crossed the border.
In one version, Naveed said he and three others entered India about 40 days back and took shelter in the outskirts of Srinagar valley including at Baba Rishi -- an area close to the tourist hotspot of Gulmarg and 40 km away from Srinagar — before coming to Udhampur.
In the second, he talked about an earlier visit about 40 days back, adding they entered Kashmir a second time a day before the attack.
“We are taking him to all places he mentioned to get him to identify the route that he took, and get a fix on the story... He has been taken to Awantipora today,” a government official said.
“They came with the single-point agenda of attacking and creating mayhem in the Jammu region,” the source said. An officer in the state police department said the militants were ferried in a truck driven by a south Kashmir-based driver, apparently from Kulgam district, to the site of encounter.