Eight Bangladesh-trained militants surrender in Tripura

Agartala, April 10 (IANS) Eight Bangladesh-trained extremists surrendered to the BSF with foreign-made arms and ammunition on Sunday, an official said.

“Eight dreaded militants of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) fled their Bangladeshi hideout and crossed over to Tripura before surrendering to the BSF in the presence of Tripura Police on Sunday at a border out post in northern Tripura’s Sewarampar,” Border Security Force deputy commandant Lakshya Mehta said.

The guerrillas deposited sophisticated arms including one self-loading rifle and an AK-series rifle, six loaded magazines, three China-made grenades and a large cache of ammunition and sharp weapons.

The BSF official said the NLFT was currently facing scarcity of funds and the condition of lower rank cadres was miserable.

“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 for 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 weak finances, disillusioned cadres and frequent rifts.

The surrendered rebels are being interrogated by police and intelligence officials here.

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.

Both outfits, banned in 1997 by the union home ministry, have been advocating secession of Tripura from India. But as most ATTF cadres have surrendered, the group is almost non-existent now.

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

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