5 Security Men Go Missing During Encounter in Handwara

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Soldier at a search operation- File photo

Srinagar: Anti-militancy operation in Kashmir valley took a new turn Saturday evening after army reportedly lost contact with its four men, including two officers, during an encounter with the militants in a village in North Kashmir.

The fate of at least three officers, two of army and one of J&K Police, remains unknown as forces have lost contact with them during the encounter with militants at Chanjimulla village of Handwara in Kupwara district, reports quoting security sources said this evening.

There was no word from army till late in the night. However Press Trust of India quoting Army sources said five security forces personnel have gone missing as contact has been lost with them.

According to the sources, a hunt has been launched to trace the missing personnel, while the operation to neutralise the militants was also on.

According to reports, an encounter broke out between the two sides when the search team of army’s 151, 21 RR and elite 9 Para commandoes joined by SOG and CRPF personnel zeroed in on a residential house in Chanjimulla village of Handwara at 3:45 pm Saturday. According to the reports militants, said to be four in number, had taken shelter in the village house after escaping a military dragnet in the Rajwar forest on Friday afternoon.

“When the troops approached the house, the militants present there opened fire in a bid to escape. However, the security forces retaliated the fire and thwarted their attempt,” local news gathering agency GNS reported quoting official sources.

This report said that the exchange of fire continued for several hours before the guns fell silent.

“A joint team of army and police, including two senior army officers approached the house to further tighten the grip around the militants. However, after that the ambush team lost contact with their colleagues, this report said.

“One body is lying outside the house. However, it is not clear if it is that of soldier or any militant,” they added.

This is a developing story and will be updated once more details are available.

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