ULFA hit-squad from Myanmar enters Assam


Guwahati : The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is planning to stage violent strikes in the run up to Independence Day, with a four-member hit squad sneaking into the state from bases in Myanmar, rebel leaders said Tuesday.

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“We have information of at least four ULFA militants, including a senior leader, already entering Assam from Myanmar and planning to carry out attacks ahead of Aug 15,” Prabal Neog, leader of the pro-talk ULFA faction, told IANS.

Neog is among 150 odd militants of the Alpha and Charlie companies of ULFA’s 28th battalion that entered into a ceasefire with government last year. The 28th battalion is the most potent striking unit of the ULFA.

“According to our information, the ULFA group is planning to attack security forces by triggering landmines, blow up oil installations and pipelines, besides trying to target some of our leaders (pro-talk ULFA),” said Neog, who was earlier a commander of the 28th battalion.

Security forces, meanwhile, stepped up patrol in vulnerable areas in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts following the inputs provided by the pro-talk ULFA leaders about possible attacks by ULFA militants ahead of Independence Day.

“We are on maximum alert and taking no chances with security forces already in an offensive mode in vulnerable areas,” a senior police official said.

On Monday night, a woman ULFA leader Deepshikha Baruah alias Bohagi Baruah was arrested by security forces from the eastern district of Sivasagar and during interrogations she had revealed the outfit’s plans to carry out systematic attacks ahead of Aug 15.

The ULFA has been fighting for an independent homeland since 1979.

Rebels in insurgency-hit Assam, the largest among the seven northeastern states, have for years been boycotting the Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations to protest the central government’s rule over the vast region rich in oil, tea and timber.

The run-up to the events has always been violent, with ULFA striking vital installations including crude oil pipelines, trains, and road and rail bridges, besides targeting federal soldiers.