Trooper wounded in Sogam firefight, militants escape

Srinagar: A soldier was injured in a brief gunfight that broke out at Sogam woods between army and militants immediately after the arrest of a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander at Lolab in frontier Kupwara district of north Kashmir late last night. The militants who engaged forces in the firefight have managed to escape.

SSP Kupwara, Aijaz Ahmad, said on Monday evening, a police party acting on a tip off apprehended a suspicious person from Sogam market who was purchasing some eatables. “Soon after his arrest, the joint team of army and police, acting upon his disclosure, launched cordon-and-search operation in nearby Naghbal and Sheikh Nard forests,” he said.

The apprehended person was later identified as Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Abu Ukasha alias Hanzullah of Pakistan by police. “A grenade and around 38 thousand cash were recovered from his possession,” the police had said and termed the arrest as a “big success”.

After the arrest, the joint team of forces intensified the search operation, the militants opened fire upon them triggering off a brief gunfight inside Sogam woods during which a soldier of army’s 28 RR identified as Jagdesh Choudhary sustained minor injuries and was hospitalized immediately, said the SSP.

The operation against the militants was suspended due to darkness and the search operation was again resumed today in the morning to trace out the militants, who were associates of the Lashkar commander, police said. During the search operation in the forests, an AK-47 rifle and some magazines were recovered.

Regarding the arrest of Abu Ukasha and subsequently recovery of arms and ammunition, police today registered an FIR under 38/2016 under section 7/25 and 14 Foreigner Act, he said.

“Initial investigations revealed that the LeT group comprises of five members among them one has been arrested,” the SSP revealed. However official sources disclosed to GNS that the militants while taking advantage of the darkness managed to escape from the woods by breaking forces’ cordon. (GNS)

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