Nightlong fight involving drones, helicopters and surprise counterattacks ends with death of two militants, army soldier
Sopore: Two militants and an army soldier were killed in an intense gun battle at Drusoo village of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday morning. The encounter between a joint team of government forces and the two militants, one of whom was from south Kashmir and had joined militant ranks only two days ago, lasted the entire night.
Government forces had to press drones and helicopters into service to locate the militants, who took full advantage of dense orchards and corn fields around the small house they were fighting from, to launch surprise counterattacks on the army.
The slain militants were identified as Riyaz Ahmad, son of Mohd Akbar Dar of Naseerabad Sopore, who was missing since July 12, and Khursheed Ahmad Malik, a BTech graduate, son of Ghulam Nabi Malik of Arabal Nikas, Pulwama, who was missing since Tuesday morning.
“We have never seen a gunfight of this intensity. We could hear the buzz of choppers overhead and, soon, drones were flying around amid the continuous rat-a-tat of bullets. It felt like the boys (militants) were fighting in a very determined fashion,” a local who spoke to Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity said.
As soon as the news of encounter spread in the area early morning, clashes between civilians and government forces began to be reported from different areas in and around Sopore. Locals in Drusoo told Kashmir Reader that forces used concertina wires to block movement and generators to light up the area during the night. Internet services were also snapped in the night but the trapped militants gave a tough fight to the forces, firing intermittently and launching counterattacks, which resulted in injury to a policeman and death of an army soldier. Eventually, additional forces were called in to control the situation.
Police in their statement said that a joint patrol of the security forces on Thursday night launched searches at Drusoo area in Dangiwacha Sopore after receiving credible inputs about the presence of militants there.
A police spokesman further said that when the hiding militants were located, police made efforts to persuade them to surrender, but they refused and instead opened fire on the search party, triggering a gunfight.
In the ensuing encounter, police said, two militants were eliminated by the security forces. The police statement added that the killed militants were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba) and their identity was being ascertained.
Three security forces’ personnel were also injured during the encounter, police said. They were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment but an army soldier of 22 RR (Rashtiya Rifles) succumbed to his injuries. The other two injured were stated to be in stable condition, police said.
Some arms and ammunition were also recovered from the site of encounter, police said, adding that a case has been registered into the incident and further investigation has been initiated.
Meanwhile, all educational institutions and most offices remained closed in Sopore and adjoining areas and internet services remained snapped. There was heavy presence of government forces on roads to thwart any protests in the area.
After the encounter, the bodies of both the slain militants were handed over to their family members.