Police and security forces gunned down four fidayeen in Army fatigues, who had sneaked into Rajouri district from across the Line of Control in Keri sector four days ago, on the outskirts of Sunderbani town on Wednesday. While the identity of the slain militants is yet to be ascertained, sources said that they appeared to be foreigners. Four AK rifles, along with a huge cache of arms and ammunition, including hand grenades and IEDs, have been seized from them, sources said.
While the militants were intercepted in a forest area in Rewarian Talah village, police suspect that their target could have been Jammu as they entered Khour subdivision’s Keri area where the international border ends and the LoC begins towards Rajouri and Poonch district, Rajouri SSP Yougal Manhas said. However, in the absence of a guide, they moved towards Sunderbani instead of Jammu, sources said. All the four militants were fidayeen as they were equipped with IEDs, Manhas said.
Timely detection and early interception foiled their plan, said Rajouri Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary. “Four terrorists killed in joint operation in Sunderbani Rajouri. It was a group recently infiltrated from LOC. Great job boys,” DGP SP Vaid tweeted soon after the encounter ended around 6 pm.
Sources said the militants, after entering Keri from across the LoC four days ago, appeared to have been separated from their guide and could not find a way out of the area. Police and security forces had been looking for them after they infiltrated. The militants purchased some items from a shop at Malla in Khour, and the next day ate at the house of one Pandit Bhushan Kumar at Jogi nullah in Sunderbani subdivision. They purchased ration from a shop at Rewarian Talah on Tuesday evening and after police received information about their movement, the area was cordoned off in the night by security personnel.
Police along with personnel of the 16 Raj Rifles, 6 Jat regiment and 126 battalion of the BSF, led by Rajouri SSP Yougal Manhas launched searches on Wednesday morning after which militants hiding in the forests fired nearly half a dozen rounds at the search parties. A fierce gunfight ensued and the four militants were gunned down.
Security personnel seized three bags, of which two contained IEDs and hand grenades.
The Rajouri district administration ordered all schools and other educational institutes in Sunderbani town and its outskirts to be shut for the day. The encounter comes after the attack on Sunjwan Army camp on February 10 in which five jawans, one civilian and three militants were killed.