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ULFA safe haven in border zone-booming arms trade

Saidur Rahman Rimon |
Update: 2010-07-24 15:30:56
ULFA safe haven in border zone-booming arms trade

DHAKA: People under 26 police stations of Bangladesh bordering Meghalaya and Assam states of India have been held hostage by the Indian terrorist outfit ULFA through their visible presence in the area, unchallenged so long.

Bordering 10 police stations of greater Mymensingh and 14 of greater Sylhet, where there are common hills and deep forests bordering the neighbour, with scanty movement of people, are the secure places for the underworld, so many witnesses told the reporter during his fact-finding trips through the no-go zones.

Due to the environs of the areas various terrorist groups, including the ULFA separatists, frequently cross the border without any hindrance. The tribal of this hilly belt have been the worst victim of such terrorists for the last one decade.

Brisk arms trade goes on in some haunts. This gunrunning is a big source of finance for the self-designated liberation fighters of Assam. ULFA camp at Bara Gazni under Jhenaigati police station of Sherpur district is such an arms trade center.

Bonanza at Gazni-Bakakura clandestine bazaar
Jhenaigati upazila is located 20 kilometers north of Sherpur district ULFAheadquarters with peculiar geophysical features. The road is further extended by one-kilometer kutcha road to Kochpara that borders on Meghalaya state. Another road meanders up to the frontier river Maharashi.

About four thousand families, mostly ‘Garos’, reside in Baragazni, Bakakura. Chotogazni, Namapara, Dudhnoi, Tilapara and Kochpara villages. Besides, Koch, Hajong and some Mohajir Muslim families also live in the sleepy localities. The inhabitants are mostly poor and belong to low-income group. They live their life somehow by selling firewood and handicrafts made of bamboos and doing agricultural work.

At the initial stage, AK-47 assault rifles, Arges grenades, powerful bombs and ammunition were sold at cheaper prices from the ULFA camp. One Ak-47 used to be sold at only Tk 70 thousand. But the situation changed when in 2003 RAB, SB and CID carried on raids there. The raids resulted in price hike of the arms through the downsizing of the trade.

Locals say not only the ULFA but some local influential people are also involved in this illegal gunrunning. “These influential in their own interest give shelter to the Indian terrors,” said one official in the know. Some of them have become affluent by grabbing lands of others and extorting huge money through many other illegal means exercising their influence under the shadows of ULFA firepower. In this ‘give-and-take policy’ ULFA also worked for them as hired goons.

People in charge of ULFA camps
ULFA members have set up 13 camps surrounding the Garo hill region of greater Mymensingh. An ULFA source further confirmed that there are more 19 camps in the border area of greater Sylhet district.

The first camp of the ULFA was set up in the house of ‘Rangaburi’ in village Chotogazni Namapara in 2001 on the southern side to be used as training ground. James is the commander of this ‘Rangaburi’ camp.

In 2003 ULFA set up their biggest camp in Bakakura village, having three semi-pucca tin-sheds, just two kilometers off Namapara, with Ripon Baroi as its commander.
In mid 2003 another ULFA camp was set up in the house of ‘Khristo Garo’, adjacent to Barogazni school ground, under the command of Zagir alias Bitu.

During January-February of 2004, another camp was set up near river Maharashi bordering Baliajuri adjacent to Jamalpur district. Bimal Baroi and Albert Ripon are the camp commanders.

ULFA

A large camp was set up at the house of Binita Sangma, a nurse of Nalchapra Missionary hospital under Kalmakanda police station of Netrakona district. Marak Babu (no other nickname could be known) was the commander of this camp.

Sushil Drong is the commander of Monikura camp within Haluaghat police station of Mymensingh district. On June 30, 2005, BDR members made a huge haul of arms dumped in three drums.

Mridul Marak is the camp commander of Ramchega camp adjacent to TengraTila BDR camp of Dhobaura police station under Mymensingh district.

Kochpara Tila camp is located near the border area of Durgapur police station of Netrakona district with ‘Mr. Washington’ (pseudonym) as camp commander. In July 2002, local Jubo League leader Dipak Sangma, a tribal youth, was brutally killed in this camp.

Robin Chambugang is the commander of Robin camp set up late in 2005 adjacent to Sandhyakuri tea garden under Nalitabari of Sherpur.

At the beginning of 2005 a clubhouse was converted to ULFA camp with Montreal Ghaghra as commander near Kangpara Mission of Dhobaura.

The names of two camp commanders could not be collected. These are Baghmara camp-2 located on the other side of the border of Panch Kahonia under Durgapur and Hariakona camp adjacent to Bakshiganj of Jamalpur.  

BDST: 1400 HRS, JULY 24, 2010.

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