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Five GNLA rebels held

Shillong, Jan. 29: Meghalaya police today apprehended five alleged cadres of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in West Khasi Hills district following a flurry of extortion cases by the rebel outfit.

The cadres were arrested from Dorangre village, more than 150 km from here.

The police have identified the cadres as Lasting G. Momin, 22, from Rongjeng, Arnesh G. Momin, 20, from Chokpot, Bosco Momin, 27, and Fedrick Rongrin, 22, from Dorangre and Jaro S Sangma, 25, from Nengchigre.

The security forces also seized two .32 pistols, two magazines, live ammunition, seven mobile phone handsets with SIM cards and 21 cases of dry cells, used for manufacturing IEDs and an SUV.

The police have intensified their operations in the coal-rich areas like Shallang in West Khasi Hills district after the GNLA had been carrying out a series of extortion drives from truckers and coal traders.

A police official said the arrest of the five rebels followed an operation launched by the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) personnel and local police.

“The security forces intercepted the Bolero camper, carrying rebels on an extortion drive, around 11.15am,” the official said.

According to the official, truckers are being served demand notes starting from Rs 15,000.

Although the GNLA is primarily active in the five districts of the Garo hills, its cadres are being sent to the coal-rich areas of West Khasi Hills to extort during the coal-trading season.