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ULFA breaks truce; one cop shot dead in gunfight

It is the first such encounter in Assam since the cessation of hostilities between the rebels and security forces.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2006 18:37 IST

A policeman was killed on Friday in an encounter with suspected militants of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the first such attack since the cessation of hostilities between the rebels and security forces.

A police official said ULFA militants and police team were locked in a gunfight early onFriday in Dibrugarh district, about 500 km east of Assam's main city of Guwahati.

"One policeman was killed in the attack. We are awaiting details of the incident as the village is located in a remote area," a senior police official said.

This is the first attack on security forces after New Delhi on August 13 announced suspension of military operations against the ULFA to facilitate holding of peace talks with the outfit.

The ULFA too reciprocated the government's 'goodwill gesture' by announcing cessation of hostilities for an indefinite period.

The government's ceasefire, however, expired on Wednesday although there were indications the centre might further extend the truce.

Direct peace talks between the ULFA leadership and government peace negotiators have been a non-starter with the federal government seeking a formal letter from the outfit that it was ready for such talks.

The main issue now blocking the start of talks is the rebels' demand for release of five of their jailed leaders.

The ULFA maintains the outfit was not in a position to take a decision and write a letter to the government without their five central committee leaders who are currently in jail and hence insisting on their release.

First Published: Sep 22, 2006 18:24 IST