Two days after 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an Army camp in Uri, Army investigators are looking at the possibility of the Pakistani terrorists being guided to the attack site by someone familiar with the layout of the 12 Infantry Brigade headquarters and the exact location of troops.
The terrorists, sources said, were even aware of the location of the office and residence of the brigade commander.
The focus of the investigation, sources said, is also on the route from Sukhdar, a small settlement on the Line of Control, which may have been used by the terrorists to sneak into Uri.
With a population of barely 500, Sukhdar is just about four kilometres from the brigade headquarters. A forest between the village and the LoC could have helped the terrorists slip in undetected.
The terrorists, sources said, could not have carried out such a deadly strike without help from someone who not only knew the area but was also aware of troop movements and their exact location.
Sources said the terrorists first breached the LoC fencing and then the main fencing of the brigade headquarters, dodging pickets and checkposts of the Army and BSF.
“It is very difficult to sneak inside the brigade headquarters because it is a heavily guarded and fortified complex. Only people with complete knowledge could have managed to get inside the camp without being noticed,” sources said. “Investigators are looking at the internal angle. Even porters and Territorial Army personnel could be investigated.’’
The possibility of “insider help” has many takers in Uri.
Ajaz Ahmad, who has a shop near the brigade headquarters, said without “help”, such an attack was not possible. “Despite living so close to the brigade headquarters, we don’t know anything about it. How could people, who came from across the LoC, conduct such an attack? They had proper information about this place,’’ he said.
Following the attack, local porters have not emerged from the brigade headquarters. These porters usually returned home in the evening.
“There are more than 500 porters, mostly from villages close to the LoC, working with the Uri Brigade. Many among them would return home in the evening. After the attack, we have not seen them. They are likely inside,’’ another shopkeeper said.
After remaining shut for two days, shops in Uri’s main market opened Tuesday. The road that goes through the brigade headquarters — it is the lone link between Uri town and the Valley — remained closed to the public for the third day.