Five persons, including three shepherds and a self-styled commander of Lashker-e-Toiba, were killed in militancy-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since Friday night, official sources said on Saturday.
One self-styled area commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba, identified as Abu Usama, was killed in an encounter, which began in Peer Marg area of Hill Kaka belt in Poonch district late Friday night and concluded early on Saturday.
Sources said that one AK rifle, three magazines, four grenades, two detonators, one pouch, one radio set and two improvised explosive devices were recovered from him.
Militants had abducted three shepherds, identified as Mohan Singh, Chamail Singh and Punjab Singh, from upper reaches in Mahore area of Udhampur district on September 7, the sources said.
While Punjab Singh managed to escape and reach his home last night, militants killed others by slitting their throats,they said, adding the three were abducted when they refused to hand over sheep to militants.
Ultras have looted over 200 sheep and goats from shepherds grazing their cattle in upper pastures in Doda and Udhampur districts in the past last one week, the sources said.
Militants abducted another shepherd from Batali area in Gandoh belt of Doda district on Friday and later killed him. One villager Abdul Qayum was critically injured in an encounter in Sher Gali area of Poonch district early on Saturday and died on way to hospital, the sources said, adding militants managed to escape after brief gunbattle.
The troops have recovered five kg RDX, two UBGL grenades from a hideout in Doda district on Friday night, they added.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir police averted a major tragedy by recovering a 30-kg of improvised explosive devices at Bhaderwah in Doda district probably meant to target a rally, which had been addressed by the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Union Minister Ghulamnabi Azad on Friday.
The IED was recovered on Saturday, a day after Sayeed and Azad visited the town, 200 kms from Jammu, to address a function on the annual day of the local degree college, police sources said on Sunday.
Fabricated in a milk container, 30 kg IED was fitted with four grenade and two detontors and planted at Benami in Doda district to trigger a major explosion, police sources said.
The IED was recovered by police during the santisation operation in the area, they said. Sayeed and Azad, along with several state ministers, had stayed the night at Baderwah town on Friday and left the town on Saturday.
"We suspect that militants made a vain bid to carry the IED-fitted container to Baderwah to detonate and target the rally as well as the VIPs. But due to heavy security arrangements they failed to bring it to town," they said.
The IED was later defused safely. However, no one was arrested in this connection yet.