ULFA, KLO homing in on Nepal


ULFA, KLO homing in on Nepal
Wednesday May 24 2006 00:34 IST

GUWAHATI: More than two years after the Royal Bhutan Army flushed out all ULFA and Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) cadres from the Himalayan kingdom, the two groups are now exploring possibilities of setting up bases in Nepal.

Revealing this, sources in the Intelligence department said interrogation of senior ULFA leader Manoj Hazarika, alias Plaban Phukan, who was arrested in Siliguri in North Bengal, also indicated that the two outfits were trying to forge an alliance with the Maoists in Nepal.

Hazarika, along with three other ULFA cadres, was picked up on the night of May 17 following simultaneous raids conducted in two hotels by the IB and West Bengal Police. Two more rebels were later arrested from the Naxalbari area on Sunday night, sources said.

Hazarika, sources said, was a high-ranking leader of the ULFA who directly reported to commander-in-chief Paresh Barua and headed the dreaded 28th Battalion of the underground group. He was also one of the 11 privileged leaders of the outfit who possessed a satellite phone, sources added.

A case under the Arms Act and various sections of the IPC has been registered against Hazarika and his accomplices. Meanwhile, the local magistrate has sent them to police custody for 10 days. Hazarika, sources said, was in Nepal recently to hold discussions with some Maoist leaders on behalf of Paresh Barua and ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.

Issues related to the establishment of ULFA camps within areas under the influence of the Nepal Maoists also came up during the talks, it is learnt. Intelligence agencies have been monitoring ULFA movements in the Siliguri corridor, which not only links the North-Eastern region to mainland India but also provides easy and quick passage between Bangladesh and Nepal.

There were reports that some senior ULFA leaders recently travelled between the two countries using the Siliguri corridor, but it was only last week that the agencies could zero in on some of them.

Hazarika, according to police reports here, has for a long time been suspected to have been behind the Dhemaji blast that killed 10 children among others on Independence Day in 2004. There were several cases registered against him in different police stations in Assam, police sources here added.

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