Threat of militants in fatigues led to ‘friendly fire’ incident

The soldiers had mistaken their own men to be militants.

Written by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar | Published: August 6, 2015 4:56 am

The dangers posed by militants moving in Army fatigues was highlighted Tuesday as two soldiers were killed and two others injured when two Army patrols fired at each other by mistake in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The soldiers had mistaken their own men to be militants.

In a departure from traditional militancy, where the militants would don civilian attire to blend in, the new breed of militants are donning Army uniforms to make it difficult for the villagers as well as Army personnel to distinguish between a militant and a soldier.

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“The militants are posting photos on social networking sites wearing Army uniforms. While it helps us identity them, at times our men on the ground fail to track them from a distance,’’ said a senior army officer.

The Army is probing the incident that took place late Tuesday night, where a patrol of Rashtriya Rifles 42 unit walked into an ambush laid out for militants by the jawans of the same unit.

Officials said an ambush was laid out as the Army had a tip-off about militant movement in the area.

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