SHILLONG, July 24 (IANS): Security forces have busted a joint training camp of the Garo National Liberation Army and the United Liberation Front of Asom in the Garo Hills region in western part of Meghalaya, police said Tuesday. There were no reports yet if someone was arrested in the crackdown.
The camp, located at Memanang in the foothills of Durama, was busted Monday evening by a joint team of Meghalaya's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) commandos, a police official said.
Memanang is about 23 km from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills.
"We have busted the training camp of ULFA and GNLA (Monday) evening after a fierce gunbattle with the rebels in the foothills of Durama," Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Rajiv Mehta told IANS.
Durama hill range is a vast densely forested area in Garo Hills which has been used by GNLA and ULFA rebels as their safe sanctuary. Sohan D Shira, chief of the GNLA's military wing, is controlling his rebels from Durama.
However, Mehta said there were no reports yet whether any rebel was arrested in the crackdown as the area is inaccessible.
"We have not been able to communicate with them (security forces) since the area is inaccessible to telecommunication. We are hopeful by afternoon we will get a report on the entire operation," the police official said.
On Monday afternoon, security forces launched a crackdown at Memanang based on specific intelligence inputs about the presence of the training camp.
In fact, the rebels attacked the security with rocket propelled grenades to stall their movement towards their camp where more than 100 GNLA rebels are camping.
Meghalaya, especially the Garo Hill, the most backward region, is used as a safe haven by various northeast-based rebel groups.
The GNLA, one of five Garo rebel groups fighting for a separate 'Garoland' in the western area of Meghalaya, is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R. Sangma.
However, Indian intelligence officials believe Champion has been "arrested" by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) commandos November 23, 2012, from Haluaghat in Mymensingh district of Bangladesh.
Over 30 people, including security personnel, have been killed in the area in the last one year by GNLA rebels.