Top ULFA commander killed in encounter

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Dibrugarh, Sep 15 (UNI) Senior ULFA commander Amar Tanti was today killed by security forces in an encpounter near Panitola in Tinsukia district, bringing an end to one of the oldest manhunts in Assam's long-running insurgency.

Tinsukia Superintendent of Police Prasanta Bhuyan here said the militant was involved in almost all the major bomb blasts and recent killings in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh district.

A self-styled ''Captain,'' he was one of the three main personnel of battalion no 28 of the ULFA, which is based inside Manbhum forest of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.

The security forces had gathered information about his movements in the area for quite some time, as the ULFA was now more active in their extortion drive.

Tanti was detected this morning near Panitola police station and was shot dead after a brief encounter with the Army personnel and Tinsukia police.

Acting on a tip-off, the security forces had cordoned-off the entire area yesterday.

The ULFA militants were unable to escape at night and waited till daybreak and around 0900 hrs, Tanti tried to escape through a field at Pakabam village, after lobbing a grenade at his pursuers.

No injuries were caused in the grenade explosion but the militant was spotted and gunned down.

Hailing it as a major success, security forces asserted that the 28th battalion, already crippled as Malaria had killed several of their cadres, including two senior leaders of the Manabhum camp, would further be impaired.

The 82 Mountain brigade deployed two units - 7/11 Gorkha Regiment and 11 Sikh Light Infantry to clear the Manabhum jungles.

The total area of the forest ranging about 1,800 square km made it impossible for the Army to clear the whole jungle as the ULFA had been operating from there, following busting of all their camps in Bhutan and Bangladesh.

UNI

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