Six National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) rebels were killed in a gunfight with security forces in a jungle in Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh early Saturday morning, military and police officials said.
One soldier of Assam Rifles was injured in the operation and his condition is stated to be stable, they said.
The encounter took place in the jungle between Nginu and Ngissa villages of Longding, officials in Arunachal Pradesh said.
Earlier, military sources in Delhi said the gunfight took place in general area Khonsa, a popular hill station in Tirap district. Longding was originally part of Tirap but it was carved out as a separate district a few years ago.
The encounter began around 4:30 am and lasted for nearly two hours, the officials said, adding six weapons along with “war like stores” were recovered from the area.
The anti-militancy operation was conducted by a joint team of Assam Rifles and Longding police after receiving specific intelligence inputs about presence of the militants in the area, Arunachal Pradesh Police spokesman Navdeep S Brar said.
“Around 4.30 am, the first contact of the militants was made by a team of 6 Assam Rifles in jungles between Nginu and Ngissa. Six insurgents were killed in the gunfight,” Brar said.
The NSCN-IM is a proscribed militant outfit fighting for a separate homeland for Naga people for last several decades. It has been holding talks with the Centre for resolution of the vexed six-decade Naga issue.
The state police spokesman said the militants fired 400 rounds on the security forces.
He said four AK assault rifles, two MQ-81 rifles, nine magazines, three explosives, one hand grenade, two IEDs (improvised explosive device) were recovered from the site of the encounter.
Brar said the security forces received inputs about the presence of the six-member team of NSCN (IM) rebels led by self-styled ‘captain’ Somnyam Tangkhul.
He claimed the group was planning to abduct the president and secretary of the Longding market.
Brar said the militants killed in the gunfight were in the age group of 25 to 40 years.
Military sources in Arunachal Pradesh claimed the team was sent by Rockwang alias Absolom Thankgul, a leader of the rebel group who was involved in the assassination of MLA Tirong Aboh on May 21 last year near Khonsa.
A case has been registered at Longding police station under Arms and Explosive Act, the Arunchal Pradesh Police spokesman added.