As many as 16 dreaded terrorists have fled their camps in Bangladesh and surrendered to Indian troopers in Tripura, police here said on Wednesday.
“The NLFT (National Liberation Front of Tripura) extremists, led by their self-styled captain Kishore Debbarma and self-styled sergeant Raimohan Tripura, crossed over to India early Tuesday,” a police spokesman told reporters.
“They established contact with the BSF (Border Security Force) and Assam Rifles officials at Manikpur in Dhalai district and at Kanchanpur in north Tripura district,” he said.
“The Bangladesh-trained tribal guerrillas also surrendered a huge cache of sophisticated arms, ammunition and explosives to the officials of the BSF and the Assam Rifles at separate functions in northern Tripura late Tuesday,” he said.
According to police, the terrorists, who are top-ranking militants and involved in a number of violent activities in Tripura over the years, have fled from their base and training camps at Sajek area under Chittagong hill tracts of southeast Bangladesh.
The wife of one of the militants and two children also accompanied the rebels.
The total number of surrendered militants of NLFT and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) outfits rose to around 130 this year.
According to an official document, over 8,200 tribal guerrillas have surrendered to the authorities in Tripura since 1993.
The ATTF and NLFT, who along with other separatist outfits of northeast India, have given a call to boycott the Independence Day celebration Sunday, have been demanding independence for indigenous tribals and the secession of Tripura from India.
According to the BSF and other security officials, militants belonging to various rebel groups in the northeast region have set up about 90 camps in different parts of Bangladesh, specially Sylhet district and Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), bordering Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
After the Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina came to power in Bangladesh in December 2008, security forces of that country launched a massive crackdown against militants from northeast India.
The Bangladesh authorities have also handed over several top leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) to India.