GUWAHATI: Recently-formed United National Liberation Front of WESEA (UNLFW) has claimed responsibility for the ambush in Nagaland’s Mon district on Sunday.
“We, the UNLFW, are proudly taking the responsibility of the first ever successful united ambush on security forces in Changlangsu,” a release issued by the Paresh Baruah faction of outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) stated.
The UNLFW is an umbrella body of the ULFA, SS Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), IK Sangbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).
Eight jawans, seven of them belonging to Assam Rifles and another from the Naga Territorial Army, were killed and five others were injured when the militants targeted the two-vehicle convoy of the personnel, first by triggering an IED blast and then firing indiscriminately . A team of 18 jawans, which included some from the Naga Territorial Army, had gone to fetch water when they came under attack.
Defence sources on Monday said a Naga militant was also killed in the retaliatory firing by the jawans. “An extremist was killed while another was critically injured,” a defence spokesman told Express. He said the five injured jawans were rushed to Jorhat in Assam.
And the security forces on Monday launched a massive search operation in the district amid reports that the militants had crossed into neighbouring Myanmar. Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi expressed concern over the formation of the UNLFW. “It is a matter of concern, not just for us but also for the Central government. The incident proved that militancy still exists in the region,” he told reporters here.
Sunday’s ambush, which came close on the heels of the killings of five NSCN-K rebels in Manipur on April 25, was the third attack on the security forces by the outfit since its unilateral abrogation of the ceasefire with the Central government in March.
In April, the outfit had killed three Army jawans in a similar ambush in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. Later, the same month, an Assam Rifles jawan was slain in Nagaland capital Kohima.