Updated: October 17, 2021 7:01:19 am
The operation to flush out militants hiding in forests in the border district of Poonch in J&K has claimed the lives of nine Army personnel so far.
While the bodies of riflemen Vikram Singh Negi and Yogambar Singh were recovered Friday, those of Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh were found in the Nar Khas forests in Mendhar area Saturday evening.
The four personnel had been missing ever since a fierce gunbattle with militants Thursday evening in the forests near Bhata Durian village along the Bimber Gali-Surankote road.
Army PRO Lt Colonel Devender Anand said the bodies found Saturday had been identified as those of Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh.
He said they were part of the search operations launched by security forces to flush out militants hiding in the forests.
“Relentless operations continued to neutralize the militants and to re-establish communication with the soldiers,’’ he said, adding “Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh were killed in action in the fierce fight and their bodies were recovered on Saturday evening.”
Officials said the militants are from the same group which had engaged security forces in the forests of Chamred in Poonch and adjoining Pangai in Rajouri district Monday. A JCO and four jawans were killed in the gunbattle.
The last time Poonch saw such heavy loss of Army personnel was in 2004 when militants ambushed a patrol at Kholeyanwali in Surankote area, killing four soldiers and leaving three injured.
On Saturday, the Army used helicopters and drones to try and spot the militants hiding in the forests.
The militants, sources said, seemed to be a heavily armed large group from Pakistan. They have engaged the Army personnel in three gunbattles since Monday.
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