Guwahati, Jan 23 (Agencies): In a gun battle with security forces in Assam, two militants of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) were killed on Sunday. Police said the incident took place before dawn at the Badkabhata tea garden near Doomdoma in the eastern district of Tinsukia, some 550 km from here. 

'Based on specific information about the presence of a few ULFA militants, soldiers and police commandos launched an operation,' a senior police official said. 

A militant was apprehended while at least three escaped.  'The militants opened gunfire and the encounter continued for about 30 minutes before two of them were killed,' the official said. 

A pistol and three grenades were recovered from the dead men.  'The ULFA group recently entered the area from Myanmar and were involved in extortions and a grenade attack at a petrol pump last week,' the official added. 

This is the first clash between the ULFA and security forces in the past three months and comes at a time when the rebel leadership is preparing to open formal peace talks with the government.