Militants open fire in Pengeri reserve forest near Digboi, three soldiers killed

Three soldiers were killed and at least three others were injured when militants opened fire at two vehicles of Indian Army’s 15 Kumaon regiment near Pengeri in Tinsukia district of Assam on November 19.

The ambush, by suspected members of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and SS Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), took place when the two-vehicle convoy was moving through the thick reserve forest of Pengeri towards Digboi (on the Bordumsa-Pengeri-Digboi road) which is at a distance of around 37 kms.

Reports said that the militants thought the vehicle to be of a tea estate and was carrying cash when they opened fire. The stretch of the road – the condition of which is not in a good shape – is infamous for loot and robbery as miscreants find it easy to escape in the dense forest.

The police said Saturday’s attack was carried out at the dense upper Dihing-Patkai Reserve Forest at around 5:30 am. The militants had used AK series rifles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and under belt rocket launchers (UBGLs).

“Recently, we received intelligence inputs that a group of militants belonging to Paresh Baruah faction of ULFA and NSCN-K had entered Tinsukia from Myanmar through Arunachal Pradesh. Subsequently, we launched a massive search operation. But unfortunately, today’s incident couldn’t be thwarted,” Tinsukia Superintendent of Police, Mugdhajyoti Mahanta told reporters.

The police suspected that the attack was carried out by a group of 15 militants.

“The convoy comprised a gypsy and a truck. They first fired at the gypsy leaving the driver injured but he still kept driving. Later, the second vehicle was targeted. The jawans had also retaliated.

Apparently, some newly-recruited rebels were involved as they left behind some live shells of the RPGLs, which are very costly,” Mahanta said.

Defense Public Relation Officer Lieutenant Colonel Suneet Newton told easternfeed.com that another three Army personnel have also sustained injuries.

Home minister Rajnath Singh said that the ministry is closely monitoring the situation.

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