4 Solders, Hizb Militant Killed in Tral Encounter

Militants decamp with service rifles of slain cops

SRINAGAR: At least four army personnel and an engineering graduate turned militant were killed on Friday in a fierce gunfight at Buchu Tral in south Kashmir.  The encounter that lasted several hours began at 3 am in the morning when personnel of the 42 RR along with police cordoned off the Buchu locality, almost 7 kilometres away from Tral town. 

Srinagar based army PRO Col. Naresh Shuhab said that the local unit of Rashtriya Rifles had a tip of off of some militants hiding in the village following which they cordoned off the area and began a search operation.

“We cordoned off the area and began search operations, during which our party came under heavy fire from militants hiding in nearby forest, resulting in the on spot death of three jawans whereas one more jawan later died in the hospital.” PRO said.  One local militant was also killed in the encounter.

DIG Police, South Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that Army soldiers mistook the militants as their own men as they were wearing army fatigues. “Militants deceived the Army soldiers and fired upon them killing three soldiers on spot while the fourth soldier breathed his last in the hospital,” Kumar said.

He said that militants managed to snatch a riffle and other ammunition from a slain soldier. “Militants also took away the rifle of their slain accomplice,” he said.

Meanwhile Police sources identified the deceased jawans as Dalbeer Singh, Ashwin Kumar, Ajeet Singh and Kamal Jeet, whereas the militant killed in the encounter was identified as a 21 year old Saifullah Ahanger alias Burhan S/o Mohammad Rafiq Ahanger  of Hariparigam Tral. Sources said that Ahanger belonged to Hizb ul Mujahideen and had joined its ranks only four months back. They added that he was an engineering graduate who had qualified B, Tech. from SSM College Parihaspora.

The sources also added that the militants decamped with 3 service rifles of the slain army personnel. However they left a service SLR on the spot, which police said was taken away by militants last year during an encounter.

Soon after the encounter, Inspector General of Police A.G Mir along with GOC Victor Force Gurdeep Singh and other senior police and Army officers rushed to the spot to access the situation, whereas more troops belonging to 3 and 42 RR, 85 battalion CRPF and the district police along with SOG were dispatched to the area to intensify the search operations.

The body of the slain militant was later handed over to the relatives in the evening.

Meanwhile militant outfit, Hizb ul Mujahedeen has claimed the responsibility saying, the operation was carried out by 5 member squad of the outfit among whom, four have reached to their hide outs safely.

“This was a five member guerilla squad who killed five army men and wounded 7 others. We also lost one Mujahid.” Hizb spokesman Baleguddin told KNS over phone. Spokesman also paid tributes on behalf Hizb Supermo and operational commander to Saifullah Ahanger and Molvi Hilal.

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