In a militant attack of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) on early Saturday in upper Assam’s Digboi area, 3 army jawans were killed and 4 others were in serious condition.
The incident occurred during an army operation carried out in the early hours inside the Burhi Dihing reserve forest in Tinsukia district, nearly 510 km north-east of Guwahati. Heavily armed ULFA militants ambushed an army convoy with rocket propelled grenades, hitting a truck and a jeep. And then in a improvised explosive device (IED) blast during the ongoing encounter, the 3 soldiers have died.
Requesting not to be identified, an army commander said that the area was thickly forested and that gave the terrorists an edge to attack and escape immediately after the strike.
According to the officials, the wounded were airlifted to a army base hospital nearby with multiple injuries.
Police, army and paramilitary troopers have since launched a massive hunt for the militants and to seal escape routes. The search is still going on. The army cordoned of the jungle in Pengeri and launched an encounter.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the wake of the incident. Singh said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was closely monitoring the situation.
Singh tweeted, “Deeply anguished to learn of the death of Army soldiers in a blast in Tinsukia. I pray for the speedy recovery of our injured soldiers. Spoke to Assam CM Sh. Sonowal who apprised me of the situation in the wake of blast in Tinsukia. MHA is closely monitoring the situation.”
The ULFA has been fighting for an independent homeland in Assam since 1979. It now operates out of bases in Myanmar, bordering Assam.
This was the second attack by insurgents this week. One person was killed and two others injured on Wednesday when militants attacked a cash van of the Pengeri tea estate.
In 2011, the ULFA announced it would join peace talks with the Indian government in a move to end 33-year-old rebellion. A faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) terrorist group also agreed to a ceasefire with New Delhi. Since then, elements of both group which oppose the peace overtures have carried out bomb and grenade attack in the state.