Five Army soldiers were also injured in ambush and shifted to base hospital at Tinsukia for treatment.
Guwahati: Two suspected Naga rebels were killed in an encounter with the Assam Rifle, which also lost two of its soldiers in an ambush by heavily armed rebels in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district on Sunday. The incident took place at Barabasti 12th Mile on NH-53 near Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. Five Army soldiers were also injured in ambush and shifted to base hospital at Tinsukia for treatment.
Though security sources claimed it to be a joint operation of anti-talk faction of the Ulfa (I) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang faction), the Ulfa (I) rebels called up local newspapers claiming the responsibility for the ambush.
The defence spokesperson Colonel Suneet Newton told this newspaper that soldiers were on routine area domination duty when ambush took place. “We have also killed two militants in retaliatory fire on militants,” he said, adding that militants were targeting to disturb a religious congregation, an annual event at Parshuram Kund.
Pointing out that Army was dominating the area to keep hundreds of domestic as well as foreign tourists coming from Nepal protected, he said that military has launched massive combing operations in the area. Security sources said that they had prior alert about the movement of militants in the area.
Pointing out that Assam Police was also alerted about the militants plan to target security forces in the run up to the Republic Day, security sources said that Ulfa (I) has been trying hard to escalate the offensive against the security forces to make their presence felt.
Meanwhile, hundreds of tourists were struck on the national highways-53 in between Nampong in Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Jagun in Assam following the encounter between army and militants. Most of them were returning from “Parshuram Kund Mela”.
The Ulfa (I) and NSCN-K in a similar joint operations had ambushed an army convoy in Tinsukia district in November 2016 also and killed three army soldiers. (EOM).