TURA, July 17 � In a joint operation conducted by the East and South Garo Hills police teams, militants belonging to the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) were attacked in the ongoing thrust to end militancy in Garo Hills. Though there were casualties reported from either side, two militants were injured in the exchange, though all of them managed to escape.
The incident took place in a remote village of Warima Songmagre, a few kilometres from Chokpot in the South Garo Hills region. Though there were no casualties from either end, the police managed to recover quite a stash of arms and ammunition from the spot, after the militants deserted the hideout. Senior cadres of the outfit, including Jangjang and Kongsil were allegedly present, but were able to escape due to the presence of civilians.
Acting on a tip off, the SGH police team attacked the hideout of the GNLA militants. According to reports, there were about 13-17 militants holed up in the place. However, the approaching police team was spotted by the sentry on duty, who immediately fired warning shots at the police. The police team exchanged fire with the militants, but the group was able to escape into the thick jungles nearby, taking advantage of the presence of civilians.
The offensive against the militants was led by the joint teams of East and South Garo Hills SWAT, along with the MLP battalion.
A highly placed police source said, �We received information of presence of militants as well as the presence of senior cadres of the outfit led by Jangjang and Kongsil. However, the team was spotted by the sentry on duty, due to which they were able to escape into the nearby jungles. They were helped also due to the presence of civilians. The exchange of fire lasted for about 20 minutes�.
The police team then raided the hideout and recovered 2 pistols, 1 shotgun, 1 Chinese grenade, 90 rounds of AK ammo, 9 mm ammo, 4 mobile phones as well as several empty cases.
The offensive comes two days after the SGH police had another encounter with the GNLA in the Nongalbibra region, two days ago. Though, that too did not meet with success, the police had apprehended suspected over ground workers of the outfit, but with no proof, they were later released
The current offensive of the police is a sustained campaign against militancy within the Garo Hills region. The police team has been bolstered by the presence of paramilitary within the region, which has now been deployed in all the districts to help push for an end to militancy in the Garo Hills region.