At least five paramilitary troopers were killed and 30 injured five of them critically, in a powerful landmine explosion in Assam Friday (Jul 30), officials said. The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) claimed responsibility for the explosion.
A police spokesperson said militants triggered the remote controlled landmine when a bus carrying troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was passing near village Holmari in Goalpara district, about 130 km west of Guwahati. “The bus carrying about 40 CRPF troopers was returning to the base camp after a routine anti-insurgency training exercise when the landmine explosion took place,” a senior police official said.
Four CRPF troopers were killed on the spot and about 30 injured. One of them later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital in Goalpara. All the 29 injured, earlier treated at hospitals in Goalpara, have since been shifted to the Gauhati Medical College Hospital for advanced treatment.
“The condition of at least five of the injured is stated to be critical,” a doctor at the Medical College said. “We carried out the blast on the CRPF bus and will step up our offensive if the government does not immediately stop the killing of our cadres. We have noticed the government’s attitude thinking we are a spent force, but then they are wrong in thinking like that,”
ULFA spokesperson Anu Burhagohain told a local TV channel by telephone. Earlier, police claimed the blast was carried out by suspected militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). “We don’t think the ULFA has any base here, although we know for sure the NDFB has a strong presence in the district,” the police official said. A massive security operation was launched in the area with police and CRPF troopers along with army soldiers combing the location to hunt for the rebels. “The area where the explosion took place is a thickly forested area and the militants must have taken advantage of the location,” A.K. Saharia, Assam Police DIG said.