Illegal arms and ammunition from Myanmar were entering Assam and other states of the Northeastern region through several corridors including Bangladesh, with Mizoram and Nagaland becoming the main distribution centres, Assam Police director-general Khagen Sarma said here on Tuesday.
Sarma said despite most of the major insurgent groups getting weaker over the years, the illegal arms market in the Northeast continues to thrive, with smaller groups and criminal gangs procuring them.
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“The earlier sea routes for bringing arms and ammunition through Bangladesh have been abandoned. Now they are using land routes from Myanmar. While some arms sneak in through the Nagaland-Myanmar boundary and land up in Dimapur, some come through Mizoram. Some arms are still trickling in from southern Myanmar via Bangladesh,” the DGP said.
Dimapur in Nagaland, the Assam DGP said had emerged as the main hub from where illegal weapons were being dispatched to different destinations. The Assam Police chief had on an earlier occasion described ULFA leader Paresh Barua as an important arms dealer in Southeast Asia.
When asked about the whereabouts of Paresh Barua, the DGP said the ULFA (Independent) leader was generally located in Myanmar, but on occasions also stays within Chinese territory. “But he keeps sending out video clippings to the local media just to prove his existence, despite the fact that his strength has declined and support-base almost finished,” the DGP said.
On the Bodo militancy front, the Assam DGP said that the joint operation launched after the December 2014 killings in Sonitpur, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts had led to death of 10 top NDFB(S) cadres, and arrest of 204 cadres and 139 linkmen.
“All the camps of the NDFB(S) in Assam including its tactical base inside the Ultapani forest have been destroyed by security forces. About 40 cadres however still at large within the state, particularly around Manas National Park bordering Bhutan. Its central committee leaders are holed up in Myanmar,” Sarma said. (e