In a major blow to the outlawed ULFA, two top ranking members of the group -- "Lt" Ghanakanta Bora and his wife "Sergeant Major" Tulsi Borgohain -- on Tuesday surrendered to the Army in Assam's Tinsukia district.
At a surrender ceremony in the Laipuli army camp, the husband-wife duo surrendered to 19 Kumaon Regiment's commanding officer Col Virendra Vats in the presence of 181 Mountain Brigade's Brig Binoy Poonnen, Deputy Commissioner KK Diwedy and Superintendent of Police Prashant Bhuyan.
Bora alias Jagdish Phukan, one of the senior-most members of ULFA who joined the group in 1986, was based in Nepal and had established a camp there to act as an interface between the group and Maoists, defence sources said.
The couple claimed they surrendered to "shun the path of violence and join the mainstream". Bora and six other cadres regularly visited Maoist camps in Nepal to make deals for arms, ammunition and explosives.
For three years from 1995, Bora coordinated the activities of ULFA's "strike force" 28th battalion, which operates in upper Assam. He was also instrumental in establishing camps for the ULFA in Myanmar, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh's Lohit and Changlang districts and Assam's Sibsagar district.
He spent five years from 1998 in Bhutan, where he was arrested during the military operation against the ULFA in 2003 and incarcerated in Dibrugarh Jail till his release in 2006. He then moved to Nepal to set up camps there.
During his initial years with the ULFA, Bora held the post of "relation officer" with the task of procuring arms and ammunition. In 1990, he received training in Myanmar where he lived up to 1995 and planned the ULFA's activities, the sources said.