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ULFA camps along Bangla border run by Osama outfit

ULFA camps along Bangla border run by Osama outfit

Author: Prabin Kalita
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: December 15, 2001

At Least six camps of ULFA situated at Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) along the Tripura-Bangladesh border are being run by Harkat-ul-Jehad.

Established in 1992 in Bangladesh, the Harakat-ul-Jehad-Al-Islami is believed to be aided by Osama bin-Laden and Pakistan's ISI. It maintains several terrorist camps in the CHT. The cadres of the outfit call themselves "Bangladeshi Taliban".

The outfit has about 15,000 cadres, according to official sources. The camps located in the Khograchari and Rangapani areas of Sabrum district in southernmost tip of Tripura bordering Bangladesh were set up in 1995 with the help of the erstwhile Shantibahini organization, the military outfit of the Chakmas.

The camps have been activated recently after the Khaleda Zia government in Bangladesh, dubbed as being close to the Ulfa leadership, came into being.

While the focus was on Ulfa's camps in Bhutan, the militant outfit was setting up new bases outside Assam as well as outside the country.

Its second largest base after Bhutan in terms of cadre strength is located inside Mynamar about 150 km from Moreh in Nagaland.

The camp called Nagabase is also the headquarters of the 2nd brigade of NSCN (K).

There are at least 350 Ulfa cadres in this camp with the general secretary in-charge of Ulfa Chitraban Hazarika as the camp head.

According to top intelligence sources, Hazarika operates from this base and interacts with human rights groups in Thailand.

The militant outfit has also set up two more new camps in Nepal. Following pressure from Bhutan to vacate its camps, the outfit is actively working on relocating its general headquarters and central headquarters.

The outfit has also carved out new routes out of Bhutan after the old ones became visible to security forces operating in Assam.

One of the major new routes is to Bangladesh via West Bengal. Men with weapons travel the entire length of Indo-Bhutan boundary before entering West Bengal through Jamduar, Alipurduar, Cooch Behar to Bangladesh.

Facing a serious security threat from the presence of Ulfa and NDFB, the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) has also deployed its troops along the Bhutan-Assam border only recently.

And the RBA is carrying out training and logistic mobilization in the event that military operations become necessary to drive out the militants from Bhutan.

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