Shillong, Jan 29 (IANS) Security forces Wednesday arrested five rebels of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district, bordering Bangladesh, a police official said.
Lasting G. Momin, Arnesh G. Momin, Bosco Momin, Fedrick Rongrin and Jaro S. Sangma, who are from the West Khasi Hills command of the GNLA, were arrested from Dorangre village.
Two .32 bore pistols, two magazines, seven rounds of live ammunition, three mobile phones, three Indian SIM cards and 21 dry cells were seized from the rebel’s possession, a police official said.
“We have arrested the rebels from Dorangre village Wednesday morning in the wake of the ongoing combing operation to flush out the rebels from the area,” Sylvester Nongtnger, the district police chief of West Khasi Hills, told IANS.
“All the five rebels were a prized catch for us as they were involved in extorting money from coal exporters to Bangladesh and drivers of coal-laden trucks in the area,” he said.
Recently, the GNLA rebels were involved in rampant extortion from coal-laden trucks in West Khasi Hills and even challenged the police to engage in a fight with them.
“Our combing operation against the GNLA will continue in the area to prevent them from carrying out their extortion activities in the area,” Nongtnger said.
The GNLA, fighting for a separate Garoland, is headed by arrested Champion R. Sangma, a former deputy superintendent of police who deserted Meghalaya Police owing to alleged harassment by his superiors and floated the GNLA in November 2009.
Sangma was arrested July 30 near the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya.
The state government terminated his services in July 2010.
The outfit, outlawed by the central government, forged an operational alliance with the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which provided it access to sophisticated arms and ammunition.