Willamnagar bomb blast accused killed in Meghalaya

Shillong, Jan 30 (IANS) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos of Meghalaya police on Saturday killed a commander of a Garo terrorist outfit wanted in the recent bombing in Williamnagar market.

The commandos shot dead Pangkam Sangma, the second area commander of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a terrorist outfit, while another terrorist, who ran away along with two others from the gunfight, is believed to have sustained bullet injuries, the police said.

Based on intelligence inputs, a combined team of commandos stationed in West Khasi Hills district and East Garo Hills district raided Nengjugiitim village, about 375 km west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya.

A gunfight erupted when the heavily armed terrorists fired at the commandos, Davies R. Marak, the district police chief of East Garo Hills, told IANS.

“He (Pangkam) was wanted in several cases of murder, kidnapping and extortion besides in the January 9 Willamnagar blast in East Garo Hills where nine people were critically injured,” Marak said.

The death of Pangkam is the latest blow to the GNLA following the recent surrender and arrest of GNLA cadres. 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.

“His (Pangkam) death in the encounter was a major achievement for the Meghalaya Police as he has been involved in several killings, abductions and extortions and was also one of the prime accused in the Williamnagar bomb blast,” Marak said.

A pistol, four mobile handsets, high-frequency wireless sets and incriminating documents were recovered from the site of the gunbattle.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Police has sounded a security alert in Garo Hills. The commandos belonging to SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) units continued their combing operations to track down other terrorists.

The GNLA, one of the 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 Myanmar-based National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang faction and operates jointly with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland.

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

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