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Huge arms haul in Bangla linked to ULFA, ATTF

The location of the spot from where the arms were recovered is about two kms from the international boundary.

The recovery of a huge cache of arms and ammunition in Satchari National Park in Bangladesh, close to the Tripura border, has been linked to at least two Northeast insurgent outfits — All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

Since Tuesday, Bangaldesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has recovered about 200 rocket launchers and 200 mortar shells, in addition to machine guns, and huge quantity of ammunition from nine bunkers, some reportedly 50 feet deep, that were located inside the national park in Habiganj district.

The location of the spot from where the arms were recovered is about two kms from the international boundary.

“Two underground bunkers were discovered on the top of one hill and five more bunkers were located on another hill,” The Independent, a leading Dhaka-based newspaper, quoted RAB Director (Media and Legal Affairs) Wing Commander Habibur Rahman as saying.

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According to the RAB, over 100 personnel were involved in the operation that began on Sunday.

The Bangladesh newspaper also quoted unofficial sources as saying that while the bunkers originally belonged to the ATTF, the same were subsequently also used by ULFA to stock their arms and ammunition before dispatching them in small consignment to Assam.

It was in 2004 that 10 truckloads of arms and ammunition apparently smuggled in by ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Barua from China were seized by Bangladesh Army near Chittagong. Barua was also awarded a death sentence by a Bangladesh court after he was convicted in that arms consignment case.

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The ATTF is relatively weak now, especially after its chairman Ranjit Debbarma was handed over to India by Bangladesh in January 2013.

Meanwhile, Prothom Alo, a leading Bengali daily from Dhaka on Wednesday carried a photograph of a booklet in Bengali titled “Why the Tripuris are struggling to get back their freedom?”, copies of which were also recovered from the bunkers.

The booklet carries the name of an organisation called ‘Tripura Support Group’ in English on its cover page.

First published on: 05-06-2014 at 00:58 IST
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