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Home > News > PTI

Arms operations reveal ULFA extortion rackets

A K Dhar in Dinjan | January 11, 2007 17:47 IST

Trails of new extortion rackets by the United Liberation Front of Assam insurgents and funds being used to recruit fresh cadre and for procuring new advanced weapons have come to light during the stepped up campaign launched by the security forces.

As many as nine major operations have been launched by the army alone in the ULFA strongholds of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Dhamji and Sibsagar districts since Christmas and in all encounters, in which nine ULFA cadre were killed, the security forces have made recoveries of huge cash stockpiles.

"The recoveries have in each instance been higher than Rs 50000," said Brig Binnoy, leading a brigade of just-inducted troops, which had been moved for a crackdown on the ULFA, which is targeting civilians.

ULFA cadre targeting unarmed migrant labour from states like Bihar have killed 70 people in a campaign, which has been denounced as 'carnage.'

"It appears that the extortion racket may be running into hundreds of crores," senior army officials said, hinting that the victims could have been the rich tea estates and other tea trade financiers.

After sustained questioning of some ULFA cadre, the officials indicated that the new terror campaign was being carried out under direct orders of the ULFA's self-styled Commander in Chief Paresh Barua probably based in the hideouts in Bangladesh.

The officials said there had been reports of Baruah having amassed money with business interests in the Gulf.

Officials said that the ULFA 'high command' was keeping a tight hold on the extortion money with the cadre asked to channel it to outfit's underground bases in Bangladesh through courier.

During the current phase of operations, the Army has re-deployed 4000 troops from the Kameng sector in Aurnachal Pradesh from elements of the 2nd artillery brigade and 151 Mountain brigade to conduct operations in these districts.

In addition, the army has more than 10,000 troops already deployed in anti-ULFA operations all over Assam. 5,000 Central Reserve Police Force personnel have also been rushed to these districts, to main city centres and to carry out operations in urban areas, officials said.

In the recent encounters, the army for the first time, has recovered heavier weapons like Universal Machine Guns, AK-56 assault rifles, European-made hand grenades, and large quantities of RDX and other explosives.

"Chinese weapons of heavier calibre and even some US arms are finding their way to these cadres through Bangladesh and Myanmar," Brig Binnoy said.

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