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Arsels of ultra groups posing concern in Assam

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 23: Although several militant groups in Assam, including one of the ULFA factions, are now in talks with the government, their members continue to tote large numbers of illegal arms and ammunition.

The arsels of these extremist outfits have become a cause of serious concern in recent times for law enforcing agencies in the State.

According to government records (from January 2016 to February 1 this year), 464 arms, 37 bombs and IEDs, 157 gredes, 19.75 kg of explosives, 5,572 detotors, 7 magazines, 4,883 ammunition and 40 empty cases were recovered by police in different parts of the State.

Sources said militant groups active in the region, including Assam, continue to procure their arms and ammunition mainly from across the borders. Sources further stated that extortion and ransom demands by these armed outfits have also increased in the last few months, mainly in Upper Assam.      

Several militant groups are also active along India-Myanmar border and they smuggle weapons like AK series rifles, gredes, pistols, cartridges and bombs into India through land routes and a sea route.

Most of the weapons are procured from southwestern Chi’s Yunn province, which borders Myanmar. These are smuggled into India via Ukhrul, Moreh in Manipur bordering Myanmar, and some parts of Mizoram. The sea route involves Chittagong port of Bangladesh, from where the weapons are sent to militants in the Northeast.

Sources further stated there has been a surge in illegal supply of weapons from across the border. Even though security forces have made massive seizures of arms in recent months in the region, still they have not been able to sp the supply chains.

Along with rampant smuggling of arms and ammunition from across the intertiol and the inter-State border in the Northeast by different ultra groups including the ULFA (I), there has been a significant spike in movement of heavily armed cadres along the Assam-Aruchal and Assam-galand borders.