Top GNLA commander killed in Meghalaya

Shillong, July 9 (IANS) Commandos in Meghalaya on Thursday killed a top Garo militant leader wanted for his alleged involvement in several killings and bombings in the state.

The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos shot dead Savio Marak alias Daroka, a Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) leader, police said.

Acting on a tip off, the commandos raided Rengregre village, seven kilometres north-west of Williamnanagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hill district, about 300 km west of Shillong.

A gun battle began when the militants fired at the commandos, Inspector General of Police (Operations) G.H.P. Raju told IANS.

Savio, a former Meghalaya police constable, was wanted in several cases of murder, kidnapping, bombings and extortion in Garo Hills.

The death of Savio is the latest blow to the GNLA, a terrorist group, following the recent surrender of senior GNLA militants to the police.

The killing also marks a major achievement for the Meghalaya Police, which has mounted a major combing operation in the insurgency-ravaged five districts of Garo Hills.

“Savio’s death in the gun battle which lasted nearly around 30 minutes was a major achievement for the Meghalaya Police as he has been involved in several bombings and killings and was the prime accused in the killing of four policemen at Dobu on October 2011,” Raju said.

A pistol and large quantity of documents and dairies were recovered from the site.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Police has sounded a security alert in Garo Hills. SWAT and CoBRA commandos continued their combing operations to track down other rebels.

The GNLA, one of five Garo rebel groups fighting for a separate “Garoland” in western Meghalaya, is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R. Sangma.

It has also forged an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group, A’chik Special Dragon, and operates jointly with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland.

Sangma is presently lodged in Shillong jail after being arrested from the India-Bangladesh border on July 30, 2012.

Over 100 people, including security personnel, have been killed, and more than 200 people have been abducted for ransom by GNLA in the last five years.

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