Jammu army camp attack: Two soldiers killed as JeM militants storm into Sunjuwan base
Two-three militants are still holed up inside the army camp, defence spokesperson said. The operation is underway.Updated: Feb 10, 2018 23:40 IST
Militants from the Pakistan-based outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) attacked the family quarters in Jammu’s Sunjuwan military camp on Saturday, killing two soldiers and injuring at least nine other people, including women and children, the army said.
A junior commissioned officer (JCO) and one non-commissioned officer were killed and the condition of two among the injured was stated to be serious. Three militants were gunned down by army personnel.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat reached Jammu to take stock of the situation. Special forces personnel were pressed into service to neutralise the militants. Late in the evening the army sent in four tanks, possibly for the final assault on the building where the attackers were holed up.
Defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said around 7.20pm that two heavily armed terrorists, in army combat fatigues, were killed. “They were carrying AK56 assault rifles, large ammunition and hand grenades. A search of their belongings confirmed them to be from the JeM.” A third militant was killed later. Col Anand identified the two deceased armymen as Hony Lt Madan Lal Choudhary and Hav Habibullah Quereshi.
Both were residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Col Anand said operations were being conducted with extreme caution and restraint to safeguard unarmed soldiers, women and children in the houses. Most of the 150 houses in the complex had been cleared and the occupants moved to safety, he added.
“Three to four attackers breached the high security of Sunjuwan military station and were first spotted in the camp around 4.45am. After being challenged, they rushed to the family quarters of JCOs. It is suspected that three to four militants carried out the attack, so there might be one more holed up inside the family quarters,” said a security official who had been briefed about the situation.
The official added that due to the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, a high alert had been sounded in the state that the JeM may carry out an attack.
This was the second time in the last 15 months that militants struck an army camp in the Jammu region. The attack led to renewed calls for fortifying military installations Jammu and Kashmir more effectively.
Home minister Rajnath Singh, who spoke earlier to state director general of police SP Vaid told reporters in Delhi that security forces were doing their duty and there was no doubt that the operation would be taken to its logical conclusion.
HM Shri @rajnathsingh spoke to DG Jammu and Kashmir Police, Shri @spvaid regarding the terrorist attack on Army camp in Jammu. The DGP has apprised him of the situation. The MHA is closely monitoring the situation.— HMO India (@HMOIndia) February 10, 2018
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed her anguish over the attack saying, “Deeply disturbed by the terrorist attack in #Sunjwan today. My heart goes out to the injured and their families.”
She also presided over a high-level meeting to review the security situation in the wake of the attack, where Northern Command chief Lt Gen Devraj Anbu apprised her of the attack and the operation.
Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra’s spokesperson said the governor while expressing concern over the attack reiterated his advice about the need for an uncompromising audit of all security establishments. Defence ministry officials in the Capital said Rs 1,487 crore had been sanctioned to the army to fortify its bases in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east and several other places to plug security gaps and protect them from attacks. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reportedly set a deadline of 10 months for the army to carry that out.
The J&K assembly saw acrimonious scenes on Saturday as former speaker of the legislative assembly and National Conference MLA Mohammed Akbar Lone shouted pro-Pakistan slogans to counter BJP MLAs who were shouting anti-Pakistan slogans.
(With inputs from Rajesh Ahuja and agencies)