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Blasts rock Assam ahead of R-Day; 2 killed

Suspected ULFA militants carried out a series of bombings on Sunday, killing two cops and blowing up oil pipelines.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 23:06 IST

A powerful rebel group in northeast carried out a series of bombings on Sunday, killing two policemen and blowing up oil pipelines, police said.

They said guerrillas of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) were behind the attacks, which came four days before the nation celebrated its Republic Day, which the rebels want to boycott with a general strike in the region.

The guerrillas hurled grenades at security personnel in Guwahati, killing one policeman, and triggered explosions at about nine oil and gas pipelines which caught fire and disrupted supplies to the state's four refineries, police said.

"The refineries have enough stock to run for a week, but if they carry out more attacks on pipelines in coming days it will definitely affect our operations," said a senior official of Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), which owns the refiners.

Rebels killed another policeman in a gun battle in central Assam on Sunday evening.

"The attacks are the handiwork of the ULFA. Reinforcements have rushed to several areas of the state to tighten security and catch the militants," Khagen Sharma, Assam's inspector general of police, said in Guwahati.

Last week, the ULFA's military commander, Paresh Barua, said the group had demanded about $113 million from the state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC).

He warned that similar demands on other government oil companies in the state would soon follow.

First Published: Jan 22, 2006 10:27 IST