Kokrajhar/Diphu (Assam): Two alleged cattle smugglers were killed early on Tuesday and four police personnel injured in an “ambush by militants” in Assam’s Kokrajhar district, a police officer said.

According to the officer, the attack happened around 1.30 am when the two were being taken to the Jomduar area of the district by police personnel for the identification of smuggling routes along the Sankosh river.

The officer claimed that the police vehicle carrying the duo “came under firing from militants”, following which the personnel jumped out of the car to take cover in nearby spots.

He also said that roads were blocked with felled trees at the site of the incident.

The police personnel, after taking cover, retaliated, following which gunfire exchanges continued between the two sides for 10-12 minutes, the officer stated.

“The two cattle smugglers were hit by bullets during the militant ambush. They were declared dead on being taken to Saraibeel Primary Health Centre in another vehicle,” he explained.

Four police personnel, who suffered injuries, were undergoing treatment at local hospitals.

One AK-47 rifle, two magazines, 35 rounds of live ammunition and 28 rounds of empty bullet shells were recovered from the site.

The deceased, identified as Akbar Banjara and Salman Banjara, were residents of Uttar Pradesh. They were arrested from Meerut for their alleged involvement in cattle smuggling, the officer said.

“During interrogation, they had revealed that cattle from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Assam were being smuggled to Bangladesh via Meghalaya.

“The duo divulged that fundamentalist militant organisations based in Bangladesh were involved in this racket and the money from this trade was being used for anti-India activities. Some of the money, they said, also found its way to militant outfits of Assam and Meghalaya,” the officer added.

Meanwhile, in yet another incident in Karbi Anglong, an alleged drug peddler was injured in police firing when he apparently tried to escape police custody.

The accused along with another person was nabbed on Monday with 100 gm of illegal drugs in the Khatkhati police station area, a local police officer said.

On the basis of information provided by one of the arrested, a team of police personnel was taking the peddler to Dimapur in neighbouring Nagaland on Monday night to apprehend a third associate when he tried to flee, the officer stated.

“The accused pushed aside the police personnel and ran off in the direction of a nearby forest. When he refused to stop, despite our warnings, we had to fire at him. He was injured in his leg,” the officer said, adding that the person was being treated at Diphu Medical College and Hospital.

Altogether 46 people have been killed and at least 108 injured in police action for allegedly trying to flee from custody or attacking personnel since May last year, when the BJP, led by Himanta Biswa Sarma, assumed power in the state.

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