ULFA "commandant's" arrest major blow for outfit

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Guwahati, Sep 17 (UNI) In an all-time major blow to ULFA, "commandant" of its main strike force "28th battalion" Prabal Neog was arrested from Tezpur town in Assam while he was trying to escape to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.

His wife, Purabi Gogoi, a "private" in the ULFA ranks, and their one-year-old child Dipu were with him in the Maruti car he was driving at the time of arrest.

Neog was suspected to have masterminded all the blasts, killings and extortions in the entire Upper Assam region, where the ULFA was most active.

He was also responsible for coordinating the attacks on Hindi-speaking population in upper Assam since the beginning of the year, which left more than 100 dead, and had also issued media statements, warning Hindi-speaking people to leave the state.

Army sources informed that Purabi and the child had checked in at a hotel in Tezpur last midnight. Neog had arrived today in the car and at 1430 hours, left the hotel in the same car with his family. Police followed Neog's car and intercepted it at Mission Chariali, about four km from the main town just as the car was about to take the highway to Arunachal Pradesh.

Police suspected that Neog was trying to move into Myanmar or Nepal, though no confirmation has been received about where the militant was headed for.

A large number of incriminating documents and Rs 2.80 lakh were recovered from him.

Neog was among the top ULFA leaders hunted by the security forces in the state. Two other 'commandants' of the ULFA, Mrinal Hazarika and Pranjal Saikia, were arrested last year.

Two other top ULFA leaders of upper Assam region Ujjal Gohain and Jiten Dutta are still at large.

UNI

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