5 top ‘commanders’ shot dead in Surankote*Cop killed: 3 SPOs, 3 jawans injured
2 September 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: In an important success, army and police today gunned down five ‘commanders’ of different outfits, who were holding an emergency meeting to chalk-out their strategy in the aftermath of Jaish-e-Mohammed ‘commander’ Gazi Baba’s killing, at village Phagla in Surankote tehsil. A police constable also lost his life in the gun-battle while six others including three army jawans and three Special Police Officers (SPOs) were injured. Official sources said a joint team of army and police launched a search operation at village Phagla under jurisdiction of Surankote police station early this morning. Operation was based on a tip off that 'senior commanders' of different militant outfits were holding a 'strategy session' in a hideout following the killing of Gazi Baba. Army, police and SPOs identified the militants’ hideout and surrounded it by 0700 hours. The militants opened heavy firing from their hideout and lobbed four grenades on the security personnel. Firing was effectively replied by the troops. In about two hour long fierce fighting, the army and police personnel succeeded in eliminating all five top 'militant commanders'. A police constable Shakeel Ahmed also lost his life in the gun-fighting while two SPOs and three army personnel were injured. Slain militants have been identified as Bambar Khan, area commander of Al-Badr, Wayat, area commander, Hizb-ul-Islami, Abbas Khalid, district commander, Jaish-e-Mohammed, his deputy Vilayat and Shera, area commander, Lashkar-e-Toiba. Body of Shera fell into a nullah and couldn’t be recovered while bodies of four other militants were brought by the army personnel in Surankote. Sources said police constable Shakeel Ahmed succumbed to his injuries while being airlifted from Surankote for Jammu. Of six injured, three army personnel and two SPOs have been airlifted to the Command Hospital in Udhampur while another SHO has been admitted in Surankote hospital. Injured SPOs have been identified as Imran, Mohd Riaz and Sikandar Hayat. Condition of Imran and Riaz was stated to be serious. Recoveries made from the scene of encounter included five AK rifles, three magazines, 230 rounds, three pouches and two wireless sets. Army commander and SSP Poonch Mukesh Singh camped at the spot. Police party in the operation was led by Sub Inspector JVS Chib. Sources described killings of five 'militant commanders' as a major success. The killings, according to them, will deal a severe blow to all militant outfits. Bambar Khan was involved in a number of killings and explosions in different areas of Poonch district, they said. Our Rajouri correspondent adds An encounter was in progress tonight at Mugli Narh near Kakora in Manjakote area. Atleast, three militants were trapped in the gun-battle. However, there had been no casualties on either side in the exchange of firing till the reports last came in. An unidentified body was recovered by the police from village Plunia, close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri this morning. Body was sent to a hospital by the police for identification. Police believed that the body could be that of a militant, who might have died in the encounter.