TURA, July 8 � East Garo Hills police busted a camp belonging to the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) at Nengmandalgre, 8 kms from Williamnagar town, on Friday morning even as the militants fired on the raiding party in a bid to protect their jungle shelter. No casualties have been reported.
Police teams on a combing operation across the Simsang river stumbled upon the GNLA camp shortly after 8 am but their advance was halted when sentries belonging to the militant group opened fire on the advancing troops.
The militants numbering between 15 to 20 cadres opened heavy fire on the police teams. �Evidently they were protecting someone senior because they refused to budge and continued firing for well over 30 minutes,� informed district police officials.
The exchange of fire could be heard in Williamnagar town also. Ultimately, the police force overran the GNLA camp as the militants fled leaving their belongings. No arms were recovered.
Police were surprised to find that the camp inmates were well dug in with modern day amenities. The militants were using gas stoves for their cooking purposes. Preliminary reports from the encounter site reveal that security forces have found camouflage dresses, medicines, a large amount of ration in the form of rice, sugar, vegetables and other eatables, two gas stoves with refill cylinders and a sizeable number of GNLA documents.
Police sources revealed that the camp was set up at the behest of GNLA commander-in-chief Sohan D Shira who regularly visited the camp. The camp was also giving shelter to GNLA West Khasi Hills area commander Savio Marak who recently arrived in the area with his cadres ostensibly for a briefing by Sohan D Shira.
Although East Garo Hills police have in recent months raided and busted several smaller transit camps of GNLA and even came close to nabbing Sohan Shira, yet, the thick undergrowth, jungle terrain and inhospitable weather has been a drawback for the combing teams.
The recent debacle at Dorengkigre area of Durama Hill range, not far from Williamnagar, when police ambush parties mistakenly shot dead two of their own men while waiting for GNLA militants to cross is a stark reminder of the difficulty the force experiences while undertaking counter insurgency operations during peak monsoon season.
The posting of sentries far ahead of the camp location by the GNLA has also made it difficult for police parties to reach the main camps on time.