Two days after four militants and six overground workers (OGW) were arrested in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Sopore districts, the police Wednesday claimed to have busted a Lashkar-e-Toiba module, which was behind the May 1 civilian killings.
Asif Ahmad Sheikh (23), Haseeb Ahmad Khan (18) and Mohammad Ashgar (21) — residents of Kakar Hamam area of the district — were shot dead from a point blank range outside a shop in Iqbal Market by at least three gunmen earlier this month.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain Wednesday confirmed the four militants — Bilal Ahmad Najar, Suhaib Akhoon, Aijaz Gojree and Mohsin Bhat — were responsible for killings. The group confessed that they belonged to a Lashkar module and had links in Pakistan, he said, adding that Suhaib Akhoon had also received training in a Lashkar camp in the neighbouring country.
The SSP said during searches in Hajibal-Drangbal forest area after the triple murder, one of the militants was captured. The arrested militant later led to their hideout, from where the three other militants were arrested.
SSP Hussain said that on May 1, Suhaib Akhoon, Aijaz Gojree and Bilal Najar shot the three youths from a point blank range and escaped to the Hajibal-Drangbal forest area in a car. Police have recovered two AK rifles and a Chinese pistol that were used in the crime and also detained the car owner.
According to the police, names of at least two youths, who were killed, “had figured in a threatening video issued by the Lashkar in 2016” for allegedly have links with the security forces. The police sources added that with the arrest of the militants and six OGWs, the Lashkar module operating in Sopore-Baramulla area, was busted.
Hussain said, Suhaib Akhoon along with another militant, who has been identified as Nadeem Ahmad Dar alias Abu Osama, were the main motivators and commanders of the module.