Security Forces Throttling ULFA supply lines?

The recent arrest of four porters, two on either side of the Indo-Bhutanese border, has raised speculation that despite no formal announcement of operations against camps of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) based in the neighbouring country being made, supply lines to the insurgent camps are being gradually throttled by security forces. While the police here have remained tight-lipped regarding the identity of the two persons caught on this side, the two arrested in Bhutan’s Namsakha district have been identified as Dook Bahadur Mongar and Noima Singh Mongar. The two porters arrested in the lower Assam district of Nalbari have, meanwhile, been lodged in the Kokrajhar jail, sources said.
What has, meanwhile, created an increased amount of interest is the recent visit of Lieutenant General Jitendra Singh Varma, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, in charge of security in the North-east, to Bhutan. According the country’s official newspaper, Kuensel, Varma, apart from calling on King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, and the Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Y Thinley, also met the chief operations officer of the Royal Bhutan Armed Forces, Goongloen Gongma Lam Dorji. Varma was on a four-day visit to Bhutan starting September 21, Kuensel reported.
According to the sources in Guwahati, the arrested porters, who were being paid Rs 1,000 per day for their services, had been instructed by the ULFA to deliver their goods to Deothang in Bhutan, where the militant outfit is reported to man a check-gate, about 12 to 15 km from Labhdang in Samdrup Jongkhar. Cadres of the militant outfits were then expected to transport the supplies to their camps in the region. Apart from confirming reports that the outfits were stocking up on their supplies after New Delhi’s recent understanding Bhutan on providing logistical support to flush out the militants from their country, the money being paid to the porters is being seen as an indication of the funds that are at the ULFA’s disposal. It may be recalled that Operation Bajrang launched during the ‘90s had led to a large amount of cash being recovered from various places in the state. However, given the fact that the ULFA now operates out of three different countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Kachin tracts in Myanmar, apart from states within the North-east, the outfit is now believed to have set up a finance network for a smoother flow of funds.

17 NE Ultras Killed:

Guwahati, September 28: At least 17 members of various militant groups, including Assam’s United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), along with Meghalaya’s Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), have been killed in the past 48 hours by security forces in encounters in the two states. This includes the killing of two militants, suspected to be members of the NDFB at Sangle on the Indo-Bhutan border, while a third militant of the outfit was killed in the state’s Goalpara district. According to reports received here, the sudden increase in the number of encounters is the beginning of a larger operation that is yet to be officially announced, but is linked to the country’s recent understanding with Bhutan that it would provide logistical support to the Himalayan kingdom to flush out Indian militants operating from its soil. A letter recovered during a raid on an ULFA camp in the Morigaon district of Assam, meanwhile, suggests that the outfit was beginning to face a funds crunch in Bhutan.
A team of Assam Police and Army jawans exchanged fire with militants of the ULFA on the banks of the Xonkuchi river at Gosaigaon in Assam’s Kokrajhar district at 4 am today. Two ULFA members were killed in the operation, while the security forces recovered an AK 47 magazine and half a kilogram of explosives, among others. In other operations yesterday, a team led by Violet Barua, superintendent of police, Morigaon, raided several ULFA hideouts in the Lengusang area of the Karbi Anglong district. The raids led to the recovery of a large amount of gelatin sticks, along with the letter that mentions the outfit’s financial difficulties in Bhutan.
Prior to the operation in Assam this morning, eight ANVC ultras were killed in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills district in an encounter with a team of the state police. The police also raided an ANVC camp in Garobandha in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district, killing an ANVC militant, while arresting three other members of the outfit. An ANVC hideout at Daku Pugri was also raided, resulting in the arrest of eight militants. In a third operation in the state, at Salengi, at least four ANVC members were killed by a Meghalaya Police team.

By Pradyut Hazarika(