Fourteen civilians have been killed after terrorists opened fire at a weekly market at Balajan Tinali in the heart of ASSAM’s Kokrajhar. Security forces in the area have killed one of the terrorists. Fifteen civilians have been reported injured in the incident.
An AK-47 has been recovered from the terrorist who was killed after an intense gun battle that lasted about 20 minutes. Additional forces have been rushed to the spot, even as other terrorists are being pursued by security forces. Apart from opening fire on the market, the terrorists also lobbed a grenade that ravaged three shops.
Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay has said the attack was carried out by the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), or NDFB (S).
Assam Chief Minister Sarabananda Sonowal has spoken with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the incident, news agency ANI reported.
This sudden incident of firing on people at a public place in broad daylight is first of its kind in the militancy-ravaged state. The shoot-out occurred when the state was in a state of high alert in view of the coming Independence Day.
Defence PRO Lt Col S Newton said, “We suspect there were at least three militants and one of them have been killed. Army is searching the area for the other militants.”
“I saw one gunman dressed in black raincoat-like gown and another two were sitting in an autorickshaw. He wasn’t firing indiscriminately but targeting people and taking one shot at a time.” A survivor, Santosh Narzary, a trader at the market, said.
A vehicle, in which the militants are thought to have travelled, was also recovered from the site. Combing operations are underway to secure the area.
Only three days ago, four cadres of the banned NDFB-S were apprehended by police in Kokrajhar. Two pistols, one revolver, one automatic assault rifle, several live rounds and two hand grenades were recovered from their possession.