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Nepal releases 13 SSB personnel after briefly detaining them


A team of around 13 soldiers of the Seema Suraksha Bal was detained by Nepali border security guards early on Sunday morning after the jawans crossed the border while chasing suspected smugglers. The SSB men were tracking the criminals in Bihar's Kishanganj district when they saw suspicious activity along the Ambari-Kesna border,

They started following the suspects and crossed over into Khuntanmani village. The squad, led by Constables Roshan and Ramprasad, was handed over to Nepali border security troops, who took them to the country's Jhapa district. Local villagers allegedly started protesting against the SSB squad after they crossed over.

Officials said the SSB team was alert after having seized 1,500 litres of diesel across the border on Saturday evening. SSB director General BD Sharma told PTI he had spoken to Nepal's Armed Police Force chief and Inspector General Kesh Raj Onta who told him the men would be returned safely. “A border meet is on between the field commanders of the two sides," said General Sharma.

All 13 SSB personnel were later released after being kept at APF camp in Kechana for nearly five hours. SSB Chief B D Sharma in New Delhi told PTI that the 13 personnel had been freed and “are back in Indian territory".

“We appreciate the cooperation extended today by our counterparts on the Nepal side and I have ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident so that corrective action can be taken and such incidents do not occur in the future," he said. Sharma said there has been no 'bodily harm' to the SSB personnel and that they have been extended due courtesies by APF. The paramilitary force guards the 1,751 km-long open frontier with Nepal.

According to Indian officials, the SSB patrol party comprising 13 SSB personnel followed the lead team of two jawans, identified as Constables Roshan and Ramprasad of the 12th SSB battalion deployed in the area, and “inadvertently" crossed over to the other side by about 50 metres into Khuntanmani village after which villagers surrounded it.

“The troops are back (in India) with all their belongings and weapons," the officials said. Nepal's Jhapa District Assistant Chief Officer Dambaru Prasad Niraula said the SSB jawans were handed over to the Indian side after an investigation into the incident.

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