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Forces bust GNLA camp

Tura, July 17: Meghalaya police today busted a Garo National Liberation (GNLA) hideout in the hilly terrains near Chokpot in the South Garo Hills.

The encounter that took place around 8am at Warima Songmagre, near Chokpot, about 66km from Tura, lasted for about 25 minutes.

Police said two GNLA cadres were injured but they managed to escape. A search operation is still on. Around 15 GNLA cadres, including two senior ones — Jangjang and Kongsil— were camping at the hilltop in a dense forest.

The police said civilian households posed a hindrance during their operation as a village was nearby. Acting on specific information, when security forces approached their hideout, the militants opened fired. The security forces fired back but all the cadres escaped.

The police recovered a cache of arms and ammunition, which included two pistols, one shotgun, one Chinese grenade, 90 rounds of AK rifles ammunition, several empty cases and four mobile handsets.

“The police team was spotted by the sentry on duty, who opened fired first. They escaped with the help of villagers and taking advantage of the nearby thick jungle,” said an officer who led the operation.

At least 10 hideouts of the outfit were raided in the last two months after the outfit killed 35-year-old Jospin M. Sangma at Raja Ronggat, near Chokpot on June 3 in the presence of her husband and four children.

Security forces led by Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) and the CRPF’s CoBRA commandos have been regularly conducting flush-out operations across Garo hills. In two separate operations, GNLA commander-in-chief Sohan D. Shira gave the security forces the slip.

In another operation in the East Garo Hills on July 11, the outfit’s area commander, Ajan Momin alias Jimmy managed to escape.

On Tuesday, the security forces had busted a GNLA hideout at Nongalbibra in the South Garo Hills.

On July 3, in a flush-out operation against militants in the North Garo Hills district along the Assam-Meghalaya border, two security personnel were hurt, while the GNLA militants escaped.

The police recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition, including AK-series rifles, ammunition and Claymore mines. On July 8, nine ASAK cadres were arrested in a relay search from Williamnagar and Rongjeng in the East Garo Hills.