Gorkhatimes

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Army finds huge cache of weapons in Assam forest

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 20, 2009

Guwahati, Oct 19 (IANS) Security forces Monday recovered a huge cache of weapons and explosives from a reserve forest in Assam, officials said.
An army official said soldiers of the 19 Kumaon Regiment recovered the arms from Amarpur Deopani reserve forest in Tinsukia district, about 575 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

“The weapons and explosives were concealed in sacks and then buried inside a pit. Based on specific intelligence inputs, an army column raided the area and recovered the arms,” an army commander said requesting not to be named.

The seizure includes an AK-47 rifle, a self-loading rifle, a carbine, one grenade launcher, four 9 mm pistols, and four pen pistols, besides about 35 kg RDX and currency notes.

“We suspect the arms and explosives belong to the 28th Battalion of the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom). We don’t know yet if these weapons were hidden by the A and C companies who are now in a ceasefire,” the army official said.

The A and C companies of the ULFA, the most potent striking unit of the outfit, entered into a ceasefire with New Delhi in June last year.

About 150 militants of the A and C companies were based in the Amarpur Deopani area before they were shifted to designated camps opened by the government following the ceasefire.

“We have to ascertain if these weapons were hidden by the A and C companies or by the Bravo company of the ULFA that is still underground,” the army commander said.

The pro-talk faction of the ULFA, however, denied any charges.

“These weapons and explosives do not belong to us. Any indirect hint by the army that these arms and explosives recovered were hidden by us was being made to derail the peace process,” a senior leader of the pro-talk ULFA faction said.

Meanwhile, intelligence reports indicate that ULFA’s 28th Battalion has regrouped in recent months in bases inside Myanmar after the setback following the A and C companies severing ties.

“Earlier the 28th Battalion operated in eastern Assam, while the 27th and 709 Battalions were active in Guwahati and other parts of the state. Now we know for sure that the 28th Battalion Bravo company is trying to strike in and around Guwahati,” a senior police official said.

This information was revealed during interrogation of five arrested ULFA leaders – all the five were arrested over the weekend from Guwahati.

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