NEW DELHI, May 30 - In a second successful operation, the Indian Army on a hot pursuit of Manipuri insurgents carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar and killed several ultras while capturing several others.
Army sources were quoted by national dailies as claiming that a surgical strike, planned and coordinated at the highest level, was carried out, leading to killing of insurgents and destruction of insurgent camps along the porous Indo-Myanmar border. However, there was no official word from the Army, though after the ambush last June, the Army had issued a brief statement.
It was reported that the Indian Army targeted the militants responsible for the ambush on Assam Rifles on May 22. Officials were quoted as having said that initial reports suggested that at least eight militants were killed in the operation late Friday.
�The AR (Assam Rifles) has informed us that besides killing eight, they have picked up 18 militants who were later handed over to the Myanmar authorities,� said an official from the security establishment. �Security agencies are in the process of trying to confirm the extent of damage. There has been no acknowledgement from the Myanmar authorities,� the official was quoted.
�We are still collecting the details and cannot confirm the number of deaths. These camps where the action took place are located inside Myanmar beyond the free zone of 16 kilometres,� the official added.
Six soldiers of the Assam Rifles were killed in the May 22 ambush, blamed on Northeast insurgent groups in Manipur. During high-level consultations in New Delhi to take stock of the matter, Assam Rifles was instructed to initiate an action similar to the one in June last year, people in the know said, as per news reports.
According to an Assam Rifles report to the Centre, the militants who were gunned down in the latest attack belonged to the Core Committee (Cor-Com), a joint platform of militant groups operating in the valley areas of Manipur. The Cor-Com had claimed responsibility for May 22 ambush and even released photographs of its hit squad.
Last June, the Indian Army conducted cross-border raids into Myanmar to hunt down separatist militants, signalling a new way of dealing with the problems of insurgency in the Northeast. The action came days after 18 soldiers were killed in a deadly attack on security forces in Chandel district of Manipur.
In a statement, the Indian Army had said the raids were conducted along the India-Myanmar border. �Early this morning, the Indian Army engaged two separate groups of insurgents along the Indo-Myanmar border at two locations along the Nagaland and Manipur borders. Significant casualties have been inflicted on them. As a consequence, threats to our civilian population and security forces have been averted,� the statement said.
�We are in communication with the Myanmar authorities on this matter. There is a history of close cooperation between our two militaries. We look forward to working with them to combat such terrorism,� the statement said, adding, the raids followed specific intelligence inputs that the guerrillas were plotting further ambushes.