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Ulfa used kids to plant bombs

| MANOJ ANAND
Published : Aug 18, 2016, 5:34 am IST
Updated : Aug 18, 2016, 5:34 am IST

2 schoolchildren told to plant 5 IEDs at public places

A doctor treats a man, injured in the suspected ULFA militants firing, at a hospital in Tinsukia District of Assam. (Photo: PTI)
 A doctor treats a man, injured in the suspected ULFA militants firing, at a hospital in Tinsukia District of Assam. (Photo: PTI)

2 schoolchildren told to plant 5 IEDs at public places

The anti-talks Ulfa(I), which claimed responsibility for the five blasts that rocked Assam a day before Independence Day, is alleged to have used school children for the first time to plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Assam.

The IEDs, security sources told this newspaper on Wednesday, were planted by two school-going children from Kakojan village under Philobari police station in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district. The two children have been identified and sent to a remand home.

According to sources, four Ulfa(I) rebels took the two children to forest areas on August 10 where one of the Ulfa(I) commanders, identified as Rupam Asom, explained to them how to connect the timer device circuit to the explosives.

The adolescent children — one is a class IX student and the other studies in class X — were handed five IEDs and asked to plant one of them at Dooma Dooma police station and another in the area’s market, security sources said. The other three were also to be planted in crowded areas that had been identified.

Pointing out that these children kept the IEDs at their home at least for three days, security sources said that the children, instead of planting the explosives at the defined places, like Doom Dooma police station and the market area, planted them at isolated locations.

Admitting that carrying and then keeping the IEDs at home was itself very risky, security sources said it’s fortunate that the two school children could not gather the courage to plant these IEDs in crowded places or the police station.

Four blasts took place in Tinsukia district on August 14. The police recovered the fifth IED that did not go off with the help of the children on Wednesday.

Ulfa(I) claimed responsibility for all the five IED blasts in Assam but said that their intention was just to make their presence felt, not to harm civilians and that’s why the IEDs had been planted in isolated places.

There have been instances in the past of Ulfa(I) rebels using school children to deliver extortion notices, but, security sources said, this is the first time that the militants used school children to plant IEDs in Assam.

Security agencies are following up intelligence about the presence of hardcore Ulfa(I) leader Rupam Asom in Tinsukhia. He is suspected to have been the mastermind behind the killing of two Hindi-speaking people in the same area.

The security agencies are also trying to identify the three other Ulfa(I) cadres who were involved in luring the school children.