Guwahati: A top cadre of the banned ULFA (I) was allegedly killed in an encounter with Assam Police on Thursday morning, officials said. 

Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Director General of Police, Assam tweeted on Thursday morning that Dipen Saud (52), a self-styled colonel of the banned outfit has died of bullet injuries after an encounter at Besimari in Bongaigaon district.

Police apprehended his gunman Padum Rai and recovered two weapons and a grenade, Mahanta wrote on the social media platform.

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Personnel from the district police and an Assam Police battalion had launched an operation after specific information about Saud’s location, a top police official said. 

According to this official, Assam Police’s intelligence wing had been tracking Saud for sometime. He was appointed by the banned outfit as the commander of the ‘Western Command’ after Drishti Rajkhowa’s surrender last year. 

The official explained how Saud was trying to revive the outfit in this region where it has been almost decimated. The police had information that Saud was allegedly carrying on extortion from large number of people with an aim of establishing a base again, this official added. Saud, originally from Sorbhog, had joined the militant outfit in 1988. 

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According to this official, Saud was earlier operating from Meghalaya but in recent months had been moving around in Barpeta, Bajali and Bongaigaon. 

In a statement on Thursday, Assam Police said they had intelligence inputs which suggested that ULFA(I)’s western command was planning a high profile kidnapping with some anti-India forces. 

The outfit has been involved in at least two incidents of kidnappings since December including the abduction of two employees of a private oil company from Changlang and three employees of ONGC from Sivasagar. 

While the two employees of Quippo Oil and Gas were released after months of hectic negotiations, security forces rescued two of the three ONGC employees from Mon in Nagaland. 

Assam Police has arrested three persons including a cop for their alleged direct involvement in the kidnapping of the ONGC employees on April 21. 

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