Army maintains baker killed during gunfight in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Nov 19 (UNI) The Army today maintained that Reyaz Ahmed Sofi, a baker, was killed during a gun-battle between militants and troops of 9 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in south Kashmir on Saturday.

In a statement here tonight, a defence spokesman said preliminary investigations reveal that Sofi, a resident of Paritang in Kulgam district, was known to the troops posted at Damhal Hanjipora.

On November 17, he said the Army personnel requested Sofi to help them identify a particular house at Yarikhah village in Kulgam district following information about the presence of four militants there.

The spokesman said Sofi agreed to accompany the Army columns.

When troops were approaching the house, suspected militants suddenly opened fire on them and in the ensuing gunfight, Sofi was hit by a bullet and later died, he added.

He said eight empty and five live rounds of AK 47 ammunition belonging to the militants were seized from the site.

''The Army regrets the loss of innocent life. Apparently there was no reason for the Army to have shot dead Sofi as is being published in various media reports,'' the spokesman said.

He said a high-level inquiry has been ordered to further ascertain the facts and rule out any possibility of foul play.

The killing had triggered violent protests in the area in which five policemen were critically wounded.

UNI

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