3 Top Pakistani Comdrs Of LeT Killed In Surankote25 November 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: In a major success, Army and police today gunned down three Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit after a three days long operation at Marha in upper reaches of Sailan in Surankote tehsil of Poonch district. Five Army soldier and a civilian were injured in daylong exchange of firing with the militants. Slain militants included Abu Ujefa, a divisional commander of Lashkar, Abu Ali, the outfitís Incharge for twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, who was operating for last 15 years and was the longest surviving militant in the two districts and Abu Ikramat. Abu Ali had joined militancy at the age of 16 and entered into Poonch from the Line of Control (LoC) in Mendhar sector two years later. Since then, he had survived in a number of encounters with security forces and police in the last 15 years. Abu Ujefa had taken over as divisional commander of the outfit only a couple of months back after his predecessor was killed in an encounter. Since Abu Aliís ancestors hailed from Surankote and had migrated to Pakistan at the time of partition, he had managed good local support in some pockets and had generated a major network of Over Ground Workers (OGWs), SSP Poonch Manmohan Singh said. He added that a Thoraya satellite telephone and three mobile telephones seized from the militants have been sent for expert examination and was expected to give police some vital clues about their contacts. Official sources said all three militants were killed after daylong heavy exchange of firing with troops of 16 Rashtriya Rifles and police. The ultras were being searched since Tuesday evening when first contact with them was established at Marha in which a Special Police Officer (SPO) was injured. The militants had managed to escape. After slipping from Marha, the Lashkar militants had fled deep into Sailan forests on Tuesday night and took positions inside. Enforcement of Army, police and Special Operations Group (SOG) was rushed to the forests to track down the militants. A contact with the militants was established in Sailan forests in early hours of this morning. The ultras lobbed grenades and opened firing on the security personnel, who retaliated. After an initial round of firing, the militants deserted the forests and reached Mori Mohalla in Marha area of Surankote with a view to take shelter in the houses of people to survive. However, the troops engaged the ultras in an encounter before they could enter the village. The ultras managed to enter into an abandoned dhok where they took positions and started heavy firing on the security personnel. After a heavy firing, the dhok was blasted by the security personnel in which all three militants were killed. The encounter ended late this afternoon with the recovery of bodies of all three ultras. They were identified with the help of some former militants and Over Ground Workers (OGWs), who were in custody of police. An Army soldier and a civilian identified as Subba, a resident of Marha, were injured in the firing. The civilian was caught in the cross firing while returning to his house. Four Army soldiers were wounded when a tree fell on them with the impact of a rocket launcher fired by the troops towards the dhok where the militants had been hiding. The injured were evacuated from the site of encounter by Army and police and shifted to hospital. All three slain militants were Pakistanis affiliated with the LeT outfit, official sources said, adding Abu Ujefa was commanding them after his predecessor, Abu Osama was killed. Ujefa was the outfitís Incharge for Poonch and Rajouri districts. Recoveries made from their possession included three AK rifles with four magazines, one pistol, one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), one Thoraya satellite telephone, three mobile telephones, 98 used cartridges, two pistol magazines, three bags and a set of documents. Police said Abu Ali was involved in the killing of five civilians in an IED blast triggered under a TATA Mobile vehicle at Tararan Wali on November 21, 2009. He was also instrumental in the killing of two Army jawans and two SPOs on September 15, 2008 in an ambush. His involvement in attack on a civil bus at Thanna Mandi in which two civilians were killed is also being ascertained. Abu Aliís cousin Aziz Nai was also a top militant of the LeT outfit and is presently in jail. Sources said the killing of three Pakistani militants has delivered a major setback to the LeT outfit especially in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch where strength of the outfit has further dwindled to 15. Only 25 to 30 militants were now active in the two districts. In the absence of any fresh infiltration from the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts despite a series of intrusion bids made by the ultras and backed by the Pakistan Army, the strength of LeT as well as Hizbul Mujahideen, the two major militant outfits operating in the twin border districts, was constantly on the decline. According to sources, Ujefa and Abu Ali, who used to shift to Pir Panjal range every summer, were returning to plains along with their associate when their movement was spotted by some people, who sounded Army and police, leading to the encounter, which started Tuesday evening and ended after about 48 hours. Ujefa and Abu Ali had developed some safe hideouts at Pir Panjal range from where they were commanding the outfit in Rajouri and Poonch districts besides staying in touch with their bosses in Pakistan and PoK. Abu Ali was longest surviving militant in the twin border districts with a history of 15 years operations during which he remained involved in several subversive activities. He was an expert in fabricating the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) after collecting the material and get them planted through other activists of the outfit. Ujefa had recently designated Ikramat as section commander of the LeT. Meanwhile, security forces have arrested two Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of the militants from village Koat in Kishtwar district. They have been identified as Qadir Hussain Lone and Farooq Ahmed Lone. They were being questioned.