Jaish militants attack army camp, kill two officers

Jaish militants attack army camp, kill two officers

Army helicopters and drones have been pressed into service to ascertain the exact location of terrorists

Indian Army soldiers arrive to take position at the Sunjwan Army camp in Jammu, India, Saturday. A group of militants in Indian Kashmir opened fire Saturday inside an army camp in the disputed region, police said. The attack began early in the morning and it was unclear how many gunmen were involved.

Sunjwan (Jammu): Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists on Saturday struck at an Army camp on the outskirts of Jammu city, killing two junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and injuring six others, including a major and the daughter of one of the army’s personnel.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri informed the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly that Subedar Madanlal Chowdhary and Subedar Mohammad Ashraf Mir were killed in the attack by a group of militants.

The army, however, maintained that only one JCO was killed.

Briefing media persons at the main entrance of the camp, Jammu-based Army PRO Lieutenant-Colonel Devender Anand said, “In the early hours on Saturday, after a brief exchange of fire with sentry on the periphery, some terrorists entered the family accommodation complex. The quick response teams have cordoned off the area and isolated the terrorists, who are holed up in a few houses [inside the camp],” the officer said.

He said in the operation to evacuate families, one JCO was killed while six persons, including women and children, suffered injuries.

“Due to the presence of women and children in the housing colony, the operation is progressing cautiously to minimise the casualties,” he said.

The injured major was airlifted to a hospital in Udhampur where his condition was stated to be critical, army officials said.

Army helicopters and drones have been pressed into service to ascertain the exact location of the terrorists, officials said.

While there was no action around the main entrance and vehicles were moving along the Jammu-Lakhanpur bypass in front of the camp, army personnel in bullet-proof vehicles were engaged in the operation to rescue people from the family quarters ar the rear side of the base.

A final assault against the holed-up terrorists will be launched once the rescue operation is over, officials said.

Contingents of paramilitary CRPF and police personnel were posted outside the boundary wall and were keeping curious onlookers at bay to avoid civilian casualties. Generators and searchlights were brought to the camp, apparently for a night assault.

Though the exact number of militants was not known, officials said preliminary estimates suggested that there could be three to four of them inside the camp.

Inspector General of Police (Jammu) S.D. Singh Jamwal told reporters here that “around 4.55am, suspicious movement was noticed by the sentry and his bunker was fired upon. The fire was retaliated. The number of militants is not known. They have been cornered in one of the family quarters.”

Soon after the attack, reinforcements from the army’s special forces and special operations group (SOG) rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area amid a fierce gunfight, security official said.

Schools in a 5km radius around the camp were closed by the authorities as a precautionary measure.

A high alert has been sounded in Jammu and security beefed up in and around the city.

Intelligence inputs had warned of an attack on an army or security establishment by Jaish-e-Mohammed in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru who was hanged on February 9, 2013.