JAMMU: A junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Army and a soldier were critically injured in a gunfight between security forces and a group of terrorists late on Thursday at Mendhar in J&K’s frontier district of Poonch. The incident comes four days after a JCO and four soldiers were killed in action while pursuing terrorists hiding in a forested area of Surankote in the same district.
“There has been a fresh exchange of fire between Army troops and terrorists during the ongoing counter-terrorist operation in the Nar Khas forest area of Mendhar subdivision,” Jammu-based defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said.
“The terrorists had been hiding in the forests of Rajouri-Poonch districts,” he said, suggesting they might be the same ones involved in Monday’s encounter that led to five casualties on the Army’s side.
Security forces have been scouring the forest area connecting the twin frontier districts of Rajouri and Poonch since the gunfight at Surankote. “After the initial encounter at Charmer village of Surankote on Monday, the terrorists had fled to nearby Bhangai village of Rajouri, leading to another encounter,” an official said. “The exchange of gunfire between the two sides stopped after some hours, suggesting the terrorists escaped.”
The entire forest belt in the Rajouri-Poonch axis has remained cordoned off since.