Guerrilla attack leaves 5 dead at camp

 

Muslim guerrillas in Kashmir entered a high-security paramilitary camp early yesterday, killing four people and taking 12 others hostage.

One militant was killed and three paramilitary personnel were injured in a shoot-out at the Border Security Force camp.

The guerillas penetrated the camp at Bandipur, about 65 km north of the Kashmir summer capital, Srinagar, and shot dead a deputy inspector general (DIG), a sub-inspector, and a constable and his wife.

The deputy inspector general of the BSF, Mr Mohammed Ziaullah, said that four families had been taken hostage by the three guerrillas.

Meanwhile, Indian troops were advancing towards the Kashmir border with Pakistan while monitoring the withdrawal of Islamic infiltrators from the region.

A senior Indian military official said there were no reports of any clashes with the retreating guerrillas, who have been given until Friday to pull all their forces back to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir.

India suspended air strikes and the use of "some ground-based weapons" on Monday.

Indian ministers, who were briefed yesterday on the situation in Kashmir by the army chief, Gen V.P. Malik, rejected an appeal by the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif, for a swift resumption of talks. "Until all intruders leave Indian territory, there is no question of talks," said the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan.

A 15-party umbrella alliance of guerrilla groups said their fighters were "changing" positions in the Kargil region of Indian Kashmir, apparently confirming their reported withdrawal.

"Mujahideen are changing their positions at the present Kargil front under a new strategy," the United Jehad (Holy War) Council said in a statement.

The comment came three days after Pakistan said the mujahideen had started withdrawing in response to an appeal from Islamabad.

The statement, issued after an emergency meeting presided over by the council's chairman, Mr Sayed Salahuddin, said the mujahideen were determined to continue their "freedom struggle" in Indian-held Kashmir. "We will turn every part of occupied Kashmir into Kargil," the mujahideen alliance pledged.