By Khalid Gul
Tral, J & K, India, (Greater Kashmir): A day after militants killed four army men in an ambush in this South Kashmir area, the hunt to locate the militants, who reportedly gave a slip to the forces, continued for the second consecutive day Saturday.
In a major attack, militants Friday killed four army men in Buchoo village here while a Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, identified as 23-year old Saifullah Rafiq Ahangar of Tral, a recent civil engineering diploma pass-out, was later gunned down by the forces in an encounter that followed the incident.
Two to three other militants reportedly managed to escape from the scene.
Sources and witnesses said Army, police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force continued with their search operation in Buchoo Bala and its adjoining areas.
Since yesterday, huge contingent of forces was pressed into service in the nearby forests to locate the militants, believed to be locals. “The search operation continued during night hours also,” sources said. “The area has been completely cordoned off and no civilian is allowed to move out.”
Witnesses said army also used helicopters to locate the militants in the forest areas.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, South Kashmir ,Vijay Kumar, said the search operation is on.
The militants are believed to be hiding in the forest area,” he said. On Friday at around 7:45 am, Buchoo Bala village of Tral was cordoned off by the soldiers of 42 RR, 3 RR and Special Operation Group (SOG) of J&K Police on specific information about the presence of three militants in the area.
An Army official said a joint search party of RR and SOG started searches in the village. He said that an outer-cordon party of 3 RR soldiers was present in an orchard outside the village, located in the foothills of Kamala forests.
“About two to three militants in combat dress appeared from forest side and fired on four soldiers from point-blank range. Three soldiers were killed on the spot, while another died on way to hospital,” the official had said, adding that the militants decamped with two AK-47 rifles of the soldiers while firing in the air.