Shillong Aug 21:Security forces Thursday busted a makeshift camp of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in the Garo Hills region in western part of Meghalaya, killing a top rebel commander of the outfit in a fierce gun battle, police said.
The gunbattle broke out at Songma Enggok area in East Garo Hills district, when the GNLA and ULFA rebels fired at the security forces who were tracking them, Davies Marak, the district police chief of East Garo Hills said
Songma Enggok area is about 30 km from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills and about 300 km from Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.
A combined team of Meghalaya Police and its Special Weapons and Tactic (SWAT) and CoBRA commandos have launched a massive combing operation code-named ‘Operation Hill Storm’ for the last one month to neutralise the GNLA and ULFA activities in Garo Hills.
“Initial inputs received from the gun battle site was that three rebels, whose identities are yet to be verified, were killed on the spot during the intense firing with SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) commandos while five to six rebels are suspected to be critically injured,” Marak said.
Of the three killed, the police official said one of the dead man is suspected to be an ULFA rebel.
One Self Loading Rifle rifle and two pistols besides a cache of ammunition were recovered from the site.
On Wednesday, the Meghalaya government has sought 15 companies of additional paramilitary forces and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) commandos to fight the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels in the five districts of Garo Hills region in western part of the state.
There are presently 15 companies of central paramilitary force, including 10 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and five companies of Border Security Force (BSF), besides a few units of few units of CoBRA commandos fighting the militants belonging to various factions in Garo Hills together with state police forces.
Meghalaya Police has also claimed that “Operation Hill Storm” to flush out the militants in the Durama range yielded “positive results”.
“We have been able to bust four camps and a ration depot of the militants under an operation “Hill Storm” and arrested 25 militants belong to ULFA, GNLA and ASAK from various hideouts,” Peter Hanaman, the Meghalaya police chief said
“Eight weapons, 220 rounds of ammunition of various calibre, five Rocket Launcher Shells and other explosive materials were recovered during ‘Operation Hill Storm’.”
Hanaman, however, said that the state requires more central paramilitary forces to assist the ongoing operation in Garo Hills.