Poonch, Oct 16: Army on Tuesday said that a Junior Commissioned Officer and a soldier were killed in ongoing firefight with militants in Poonch forests. So far, nine soldiers, including two JCO, have been killed in the gunfight which started last Monday.  Sources said that duo was missing and their bodies were recovered this evening.

“Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh of Indian Army were killed in action during search operations being conducted by the Indian Army along with Jammu and Kashmir Police in densely forested area of Nar Khas forest in Mendhar, District Poonch(J&K),” defence ministry spokesman based in Jammu, Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, said.

“Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh were part of search operations launched by the security forces to flush out (militants) hiding in the forested area,” he said.

On 14 October, he said, after a fierce firefight with militants, the communication with Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh was disrupted. “Relentless operations continued to neutralize the (militants) and to re-establish communication with the soldiers,” he said, adding, “Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh were killed in action in the fierce fight and their bodies have been recovered in the evening of 16 Oct 21,” he said, adding, “The operations in the area are continuing.”

Official sources said elite para commandos have been rued to the area which is said to be a dense forest. Also helicopters were seen hovering through the area, they said.

So far nine soldiers including two JCOs have been killed .

Yesterday he said two soldiers — 26-year-old Vikram Singh Negi and 27-year-old Yogambar Singh — were killed near the Nar Khas forest area of Mendhar on Thursday evening.

“During the operation, there was heavy exchange of fire and in the ensuing gunfight, Rifleman Vikram Singh Negi and Rifleman Yogambar Singh were critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries,” he had said.

On October 11, five army soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) were killed in the encounter in Dera Ki Gali in the Surankote area of Poonch district.

Officially there is no word if the militants involved in the Nar Khas gunfight were those involved in the October 11 encounter even as an army officer said that the “probability” of militants being part of the same group was very high. A key highway through the area also remains closed, they said.


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