Shillong, July 9 (IANS): A fierce gunfight lasting for an hour broke out between Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district on Friday, police said.
The exchange of fire took place at Nengmandalgre area of the district, when SWAT commandos came under fire from a group of 20 GNLA rebels hiding there.
"The encounter lasted for an hour and the militants retreated back to the jungles after intensive firing from security forces," a police official told IANS on phone from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of Eat Garo Hills district, about 340 km from Shillong.
The commandos recovered improvised electronic devices, a binocular, incriminating documents, camouflage uniforms and food items from the site.
Though there were no casualties on the security forces' side, police are yet to confirm if any of the rebels were injured.
Security forces have launched a crackdown on the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in western Meghalaya.
Meghalaya, especially the Garo Hill, the most backward region, is used as a safe haven by various northeast-based militant groups.
The GNLA, one of five Garo rebel groups fighting for a 'sovereign Garoland' in the western area of Meghalaya, is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R Sangma.