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2 hardcore ULFA militants killed

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Aug 16 � In a major breakthrough, Goalpara police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) today killed two hardcore militants of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), including dreaded militant Francis Rabha, the prime accused in the recent ambush on a CRPF party. Rabha was known to be a close associate of hardcore militant Drishti Rajkhowa, who is believed to be in Bangladesh.

Police sources told The Assam Tribune that the police and security forces were well aware of the fact that Francis was involved in the ambush on the CRPF personnel as well as on the blast in front of Goalpara SP�s office. After days of efforts to trace him out, the police came to know about his location in a jungle area between Goalpara police station and Railway station and a raid was launched last night. Early this morning, a team of the Police and CRPF located two boys moving in a motorcycle and when challenged, the youths opened fire and tried to escape. The security personnel also retaliated killing both the youths on the spot. One of those killed was later identified as Francis and the identity of the other is yet to be ascertained. Police recovered one 9 mm pistol with some live ammunition and one Chinese grenade from the possession of the slain militants.

Police sources said that Francis was trained in Bangladesh and was working in close coordination with two other hardcore militants-Gulit Das and Urban Ali, both from Barpeta. Both Gulit and Urban are now believed to be West Garo Hills district and Goalpara police is maintaining close coordination with the police of Meghalaya to trace them out and to prevent movement of militants through the Garo Hills area. Another hardcore militant, Sopen Rabha was also involved in the ambush on the CRPF party but he is still at large. Sources said that Drishti Rajkhowa is masterminding the operations of the ULFA in Goalpara from his bases in Bangladesh. According to Tarak Rabha, one of the hardcore ULFA militants arrested recently, the main aim of the recent blasts were to prove the strength of the outfit and to scare people to pay the extortion demands. The ULFA has been trying to boost its coffers by launching an extortion drive in the area but the outfit became desperate as majority of those who received demand notes refused to pay.

Sources revealed that proximity to Bangladesh, where the militants still have their bases, made Goalpara vulnerable as the militants often use the routes through Garo Hills to enter Assam and the possibility of the militants bringing in explosives from Bangladesh cannot be ruled out. Though the police is yet to receive the forensic report of the types of explosives used in the ambush on the CRPF party, it is suspected that RDX and TNT were used in the blast as no splinter was found in the site.

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