Shillong, Aug 9 (IANS): Four rebels, including a top commander of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), were killed and a police officer wounded in a gunbattle in Meghalaya on Tuesday, police said.
The battle broke out in Bolkinggre forests near Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills at 1.30 a.m. when the rebels fired at the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos who were tracking them down, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Western Range) G.H.P. Raju told IANS.
One of the insurgents killed was Roster Sangma, the central area commander of GNLA Williamnagar, Raju said, adding that his killing was a major setback for the outfit.
Two rebels managed to escape while police officer Sengsram Ch Marak was wounded in the one-hour battle.
Roster is one of the five deserters of Meghalaya Police, who joined the rank and file of the GNLA, led by police officer-turned-outlaw Champion R. Sangma.
One AK-81 and another MK-16 assault rifle, a pistol, magazines, eight hand grenades, six grenade shells, one grenade launcher, more than 300 ammunition of different calibres, two cell phones with several SIM cards and incriminating documents were recovered from the site.
The GNLA, one of the five Garo rebel groups, has unleashed a reign of terror in western Meghalaya.
The tribal outfit is fighting for a sovereign Garoland.