SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
January 11-17, 2010
Maoist leaders have taken refuge in urban pockets, say MHA sources: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has received substantive inputs that many Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) leaders, including its ‘general secretary’ Muppala Laxman Rao alias Ganapathi, have slipped out of their forest hideouts and entered urban pockets. They have reportedly sought shelter in traditionally non-Naxalite (left wing extremist) States like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and in pockets of western and coastal Maharashtra. This, sources claimed, was happening essentially on account of the "build-up of security heat" on Naxalite concentrations in south Bastar (Chhattisgarh) and the "fear of joint operations" across most-affected States. The information is based mainly on recent telephone intercepts which reveal that most of them are frequently changing locations, sometimes twice or three times during the course of a day. Asked why the Security Forces hadn’t arrested any senior Naxalite leader since Kobad Ghandy if precise information on their movement existed, a source said, "There is mostly a time lag in the receipt and analysis of such intercepts. Most often by the time you have pinned down a location, the person has moved. Not only to another place but also to a new mobile phone."
Meanwhile, the Maoists have increased their protection money. They have increased their levy rates by five to 10 percent in 2010. Telegraph India, January 13, 2010.
CPI-Maoist develops technology to clone AK series rifles, say security agencies: The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) now has developed the expertise to clone sophisticated weapons, including assault rifles of AK series. Security agencies came across the Maoists’ innovative skills when a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) team neutralized an arms manufacturing unit in the forests close to Gobardaha village in the Chatra District of Jharkhand and recovered a number of ‘duplicate’ AK-47 and AK-57 rifles of "high standard". The CRPF also seized as many as 59 different types of instruments, which were used to manufacture and assemble these rifles and various types of pistols. An unnamed official said, "Though Security Forces have busted other arms manufacturing units of the Maoists in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in the past, they have for the first time come across such sophisticated weapons of high standard, manufactured by the ultras." The first big arms manufacturing unit of the Maoists was neutralized by Andhra Pradesh Police in 2006 when they recovered a huge stock of rocket shells and launchers in the State. Probe later revealed that the Maoist’s ‘technical wing’ designed the launchers and initially made them at a foundry in Chennai. Times of India, January 18, 2010.
Northeast militants keep procuring arms from China, say sources: The official sources said that the Government of China is yet to extend cooperation to India to prevent militant groups of the Northeast region from procuring weapons from that country, while, reports of frequent visits of the militant leaders to China has also become a matter of serious concern. Sources added that the Government of India recently took up the issue with the Chinese Government and expressed its concern over the developments. In fact, China has denied the fact that the militant groups are procuring weapons from that country. According to information available with India, the Chinese Army is going through a process of modernization in a big way and in the process of modernization, the old weapons are often offloaded to the arms dealers and the militant groups take advantage of the situation to procure the same through the clandestine arms dealers. Weapons procured by the militant groups through the arms dealers include AK series rifles, LMG and MI 15 rifles and ammunitions. These weapons, mostly discarded by the Chinese army as a part of the modernization process, are still good enough for the militant groups. Assam Tribune, January 14, 2010.
'Commander-in-chief' and 'chairman' of newly formed Hynniewtrep Liberation Front (HLF) arrested in Meghalaya: Meghalaya Police arrested the self-styled 'commander-in-chief' Shembhalang Dkhar and 'chairman' Roy Kupar Marbaniang of a newly formed militant outfit Hynniewtrep Liberation Front (HLF) from their respective residences at Demthring and Madanriting localities in capital Shillong on January 13. They were arrested after a National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) militant Nickson Khang, who was arrested on January 10, revealed the presence of two active militants of the outfit in the city. Police also recovered a cellular phone and a manifesto of the new outfit from Shembhalang Dkhar confirming his links with the new group. Police said that newly formed insurgent group is getting active support from the NSCN-IM and Dkhar had also visited NSCN-IM’s Hebron camp at Dimapur in Nagaland to meet the top leaders of the NSCN-IM on several occasions.
The Superintendent of Police (Crime) Vivek Syiem on January 14 said the new insurgent group was supposed to send its 30 cadres to the Hebron camp for training. Another Police official said the present rift between the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and NSCN-IM has compelled the latter to form a new group to expand its network in the State. He also said the insurgent group is also on the look out to form another militant outfit in Garo Hills. Police estimate that the present strength of the HLF might be around 10 cadres. Police sources also confirmed that Nickson Khang was sent by the NSCN-IM to float a new militant outfit in the State for logistical support to the Naga group.
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Police decided to lodge a complaint with the Union Government to rein in NSCN-IM cadres, currently under cease-fire with the Centre, so that they do not create any law and order problem in the State. Additional Director-General of Police B. Kezo on January 15 said that the Naga militants would be considered criminals in Meghalaya as there was no cease-fire with them in the State. The Shillong Times; Telegraph India, January 15-16, 2010.
Prachanda agrees to induct Prime Minister in High Level Political Mechanism: The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (Unified CPN-Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda agreed to induct Prime Minister (PM) Madhav Kumar Nepal as an ‘invitee member’ of the newly formed High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) and include other party leaders as well. He took the decision during a discussion with Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala on HLPM in the morning of January 14. Earlier, Prachanda had claimed that the situation would become even worse if the PM was included in the mechanism because the political deadlock cropped up due to him. eKantipur, January 14, 2010.
62 militants and 7 civilians among 71 persons killed during the week in FATA: A United States (US) drone strike on January 17 killed at least 20 Taliban militants, including foreign militants, at Shaktoee in the South Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Separately, two anti-Taliban elders were killed by the militants in the Bajaur Agency. Further, the Security Forces (SFs) killed three Taliban militants in the South Waziristan Agency.
Five militants were killed in clashes with the Security Forces (SFs) in the Khyber Agency on January 16.
Two US drone strikes killed at least 11 Taliban militants in the North Waziristan Agency on January 15. Also, a tribal malik (leader) and head of the Kukikhel Qaumi Jirga (council), Ibrahim Kukikhel, was shot dead while his wife and a son were injured in the Wazirdand area of Jamrud tehsil (revenue unit) in Khyber Agency.
A US drone targeted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakeemullah Mehsud in South Waziristan Agency on January 14 and killed 10 militants. Reports indicated that Asmatullah Muaviya, one of the main ‘commanders’ of the TTP’s Punjab chapter, was among the 10 persons killed the attack. Qari Hussain, who had a 50 million head money and believed to be a "master trainer" of suicide bombers, and Muhammad Mehsud were also among the killed. "What is confirmed is that Hakeemullah was targeted ... but the strike took place in a remote area where communication lines are very poor ... we don’t have confirmation yet if he is dead," the official sources said. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Chief Major General Athar Abbas said the military was investigating reports of Hakeemullah’s death, adding, "So far, we do not have confirmation of him either getting killed or getting injured. It will take a little more time." The TTP spokesman Azam Tariq, however, said, "Hakeemullah Mehsud was present at the same place in Shaktoee where the drone struck ... but he had left the area already when the drone attack took place. He is alive and completely safe."
Also, the chief of the pro-Government Khwazai Peace Committee, Muhammad Akbar, and one of its member, Gulistan, were killed and seven others persons sustained serious injuries in a roadside blast at Dorbakhel area of Halimzai sub-division in the Mohmand Agency.
Four Taliban militants and a soldier were killed in a gun battle when dozens of Taliban militants attacked a check post in the Mohmand Agency on January 12.
Eight Taliban militants and one trooper were killed during a clash between Taliban militants and SFs in the ongoing operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation) in South Waziristan Agency on January 11. Meanwhile, the Taliban militants fired on a check post at Pash Zairat in Razmak sector of South Waziristan Agency, killing a trooper and injuring three others. Separately, a Jordanian Taliban ‘commander’, who moved to Afghanistan in 1999 and stayed on to fight US-led forces, was killed in a US drone attack in Waziristan, extremist websites monitored by US-based Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) intelligence said.
Meanwhile, a US drone strike killed one of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) most-wanted terrorists, a Palestinian suspected in a 1986 plane hijacking with a USD five million bounty on his head, said three Pakistani intelligence officials. The intelligence officials said a January 9 missile strike in North Waziristan Agency killed Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, January 12-18, 2010.
12 militants and two civilians killed during the week in NWFP: The bullet-riddled dead bodies of seven Taliban militants were recovered from different areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) on January 15. "The dead bodies of five militants were dumped in two different areas of Darra Adam Khel," said Major Fazalur Rehman. Meanwhile, two dead bodies, including that of Taliban ‘commander’ of Khawazakhela area Mohammad Rehman, were recovered from Khawazakhela in Swat, official sources said. In addition, an anti-Taliban leader was killed at an unspecified location.
At least three Taliban militants were killed by the Security Forces (SFs) during the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Rast (Path to Truth) in the Swat District on January 13. Separately, a teenager, Muhammad Shoaib, was killed and six other boys were injured when an explosive device exploded at a playground in the Civil Lines area of Tank, the headquarter of Tank District. Meanwhile, a headless dead body of a man was recovered by the Police in the Peepal Kalay area of Hangu District. The militants had attached explosives to the dead body which exploded as soon as the Police team went near the body. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, January 12-18, 2010.