Poonch terror attack: 6 local residents held for providing logistics to attackers, says DGP
Six terrorists, including an entire family, colluded on the instructions of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and provided logistical support to the terrorists.
Jammu and Kashmir director general of police (DGP) Dilbag Singh on Friday said six terror operatives that included an entire family of one of them colluded on the instructions of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and provided logistical support that included arms, ammunition, grenades and cash dropped by a Pakistani drone, besides food and shelter to the terrorists, who ambushed an Army truck at Tota Gali in Poonch on April 20.
At least five soldiers were killed and another injured when the Army truck was in ambushed. The ill-fated truck was ferrying fruits and other eatables for an Iftar party from Bhimber Gali to Sangiote village.
“We had detained 221 suspects following the attack on April 20, of which half a dozen have been formally arrested,” said the DGP, who visited Rajouri’s Darhal where security forces have launched searches in the Thannamandi area to track down the attackers.
Of the six arrested accused, identity of only three — Nisar Ahmed (a Gujjar), Fareed Ahmed and Mushtaq Ahmed, all from Mendhar sub-division — has been revealed.
He said the terrorists carried out the attack with locals’ support.
“Without the support of locals, such an attack would not have been possible. Terrorists used 7.62 mm steel core bullets and IEDs to target the Army truck with an intention to inflict maximum damage,” he said.
About terror operative Nisar Ahmed of Gursai, he said, “Being an overground worker since 1990s, police had picked him up earlier. This time also he was under suspicion. He was picked up and we found some corroborative evidence on the basis of which, he was questioned. During questioning, he admitted that he and his family members were fully involved in it.”
“For the past two to three months, Nisar Ahmed and his family were helping the terrorists by providing them food, water and other facilities. Pakistan had sent a consignment via drone and it was also picked up by Nisar and delivered to the terrorists. The consignment included cash, arms, ammunition and grenades,” said Singh.
“We are identifying the spot where the drone had dropped the weapons and cash,” he added.
The DGP said Nisar was an overground worker since 1990s. He also said the aspect of ferrying the terrorists was being looked into.
“They were kept at one place and they carried out attack at another place. May be this module or another module was involved in it will be known only after further questioning,” he said.
Ahmed’s house in Mendhar is barely 35 km away from Bhimber Gali.
The DGP called it arrest of six terror operatives a ‘good’ success in terms of investigations.
“With the busting of this module, we have got a direction in the case and now know how to take it forward. We’ll investigate how they came, where they lived, how the attack was carried out, how logistics were arranged and how they were helped. It is a big success in terms of probe but till attackers are neutralised, the success remains incomplete,” he said.
“We believe that terrorists have been in this area for the past couple of months and they were shifting their hideouts from one place to another but generally stayed in this area,” he said.
It is believed that the attackers lived for two to three months in the natural caves in the jungles of Bhat Dhurian.
In this context, he recalled that in August last year, two suicide attackers had attacked an Army camp in Rajouri’s Pargal, killing four soldiers before being gunned down and January 1 Dhangri attack that left seven civilians dead.
“Since then, their (terrorists) movement has been noticed in one area or the other. Their latest movement came to our notice a couple of days ago and based on that report, this operation has been launched (in Thannamandi),” he said adding “we assure that we will be able to get them”.
The DGP said, one thing was common in recent attacks, including April 20 ambush, that “handlers across (LoC) from LeT are common and the couple of people, who are sitting there and controlling these operations.”
“In most of these cases, the organisation involved is same. The handlers by and large are common. Incidents are separate but there is some communication between the groups and that can’t be ruled out,” he said.
“They (terrorists) had conducted a proper recce of the area. Amid rain, they succeeded to hit the Army vehicle that was moving with almost zero speed due to a sharp bend on the road,” he said.
The attack was carried out near a jungle. Our initial investigations suggested that they may have used natural hideouts. We are identifying the hideouts that may have been used before the attack and intense search operation is on to nab the attackers,” he said.
“While the group of terrorists involved in the April 20 ambush was believed to be three to five, around a dozen terrorists are active in the Rajouri and Poonch districts,” he added.