Shillong, Aug 21 IANS | 4 months ago

Three militants were killed in Meghalaya Thursday as a gun battle broke out when security forces busted a makeshift camp of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

The gun battle 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, told IANS.

Songma Enggok area is about 30 km from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills and about 300 km from here.

A combined team of 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 the 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...while five to six rebels are suspected to be critically injured," Marak said.

One self loading rifle and two pistols, besides, a cache of ammunition were recovered from the site.

Meanwhile, police 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 belonging to ULFA, GNLA and ASAK from various hideouts," Peter Hanaman, Meghalaya police chief, told IANS.

Hanaman, however, said the state requires more central paramilitary forces to assist the ongoing operation in Garo Hills.

Meghalaya, especially the Garo Hills region, is being used as a safe haven by various northeast-based militant groups, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), ULFA and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

The GNLA, fighting for a separate Garoland in western Meghalaya, has also forged an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group, A'chik Special Dragon. It also has links with the NSCN-IM, the ULFA and the NDFB.

(Posted on 21-08-2014)

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