Army operations against ULFA on, one killed

A day after New Delhi called off a ceasefire, one ULFA cadre was killed in the resumed military action.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2006 14:24 IST

Army soldiers on Monday launched a massive operation in Assam killing one guerrilla of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), a day after New Delhi called off a ceasefire and resumed military action.

The gunfight between army soldiers and a group of heavily armed ULFA rebels took place near a thickly wooded area in Pangeri in eastern Assam's Tinsukia district, about 550 km from here.

"There was heavy exchange of gunfire and in the ensuing encounter one ULFA rebel was killed, two captured and a large cache of weapons and ammunition seized from the area," Tinsukia district magistrate Absar Hazarika told IANS over phone.

An army commander said some of the rebels in the group might have managed to escape taking cover in the dense jungles and the inaccessible terrain. Troops are conducting similar offensives in at least six districts, including Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Nalbari and Barpeta.

On Sunday, two ULFA rebels were killed in a similar gunfight with the army in Tinsukia district.

"At least six army soldiers were injured when the ULFA challenged the army team," a police official said.

Intelligence reports said the ULFA's 28th battalion based in Myanmar and active in eastern Assam was on a massive extortion drive in the area - mostly targeting tea gardens and other business houses.

"The ULFA was trying to take advantage of the ceasefire and extorting money," the intelligence official said.

Meanwhile, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa Monday evening said the group was not bothered about the breakdown of the ceasefire.

"We don't want a truce and instead committed to ending the war. The government of India's ceasefire announcement in August was nothing but a drama enacted by them," he said in a statement received by the local media here.

"The government's insistence on a letter of commitment for direct talks is nothing but a conspiracy to derail the peace process."

First Published: Sep 26, 2006 14:24 IST