12 NLFT militants surrender with families in Tripura

Agartala, April 11 (IANS) Twelve guerrillas of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have surrendered to the police along with their arms and ammunition, a police officer said here on Monday.

“Ten NLFT militants along with their two associates fled their Bangladeshi hideout last week and crossed over to Tripura before surrendering to the superintendent of police (special branch) Arindam Nath on Sunday in Tripura’s border village Bhandarima,” the officer said.

The militants were accompanied by 20 family members, including eight children, he said.

The militants were brought here late Sunday night and were being interrogated by police and intelligence officials, he said.

They also surrendered one self-loading rifle and an AK-47 rifle, six loaded magazines, three China-made grenades and a large cache of ammunition and sharp weapons.

Border Security Force (BSF) officials were present during the surrender of the NLFT militants.

The NLFT was currently short of funds and the condition of the lower rank cadres was miserable, BSF’s Deputy Commandant Lakshya Mehta said in a statement.

“The frequent joint operations by the Bangladesh Army and Border Guard Bangladesh in Rangamati and Khagrachari districts (in mountainous southeastern Bangladesh) are also creating a huge problem for the outfit in hiding and free movement,” Mehta said.

He said the surrender was a big jolt for the NLFT especially at a time when the outfit is plagued by a funds crunch, disillusioned cadres and frequent rifts.

Members of NLFT and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) undergo arms training in hideouts and covert camps in various parts of Bangladesh, which shares an 856 km border with Tripura.

Banned in 1997 by the central government, the two outfits advocate secession of Tripura from India. However, ATTF has become almost defunct due to the surrender of most of its cadres.

Tripura and union home ministry officials held two rounds of talks last year with the NLFT after the rebel group expressed willingness to hold peace parleys.

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