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19-yr-old girl dies in cross-fire

GNLA-ASAK militants clash in GH

TURA: A 19-year-old girl has been killed after being caught in a cross-fire between two Garo militant groups fighting for area dominance on Tuesday in Dobu area of Songsak in East Garo Hills district.
One militant was also killed and another injured in the firing inside the village.
Suspected GNLA militants attacked Bolmoram Agalgre village at around 6 am on Tuesday after learning about the presence of cadres of its rival breakaway faction known as the A’chik Songna An’pachakgipa Kotok (ASAK) group.
Four ASAK cadres had come to the village to take shelter the previous evening.
As dawn broke, heavily armed GNLA cadres, said to number around half a dozen and belonging to the eastern command of the outfit,  launched an attack on the ASAK militants holed up inside the village.
A 19-year-old girl, Manchi Ch Marak, daughter of Mantho S Sangma, who was washing utensils outside her house was caught in the crossfire. She was hit on her back and hand by two bullets leaving her critically injured.
Despite her injuries, there were none to take her for medical treatment as many of the frightened villagers had fled as soon as the firing began.
The GNLA militants under the command of new eastern commander Jangjang shot dead one ASAK militant and injured another even as the rival group tried to fight off the raid.
In the face of the heavy attack by the GNLA, the two ASAK militants along with the injured cadre abandoned their positions and fled into the jungle leaving behind their dead comrade.
As news trickled in to the police about the encounter, commandos were rushed in from Songsak police station and Dobu police outpost.
“We rushed in forces from two different areas and when our teams arrived in the village found the young girl seriously injured and the body of one of the militants killed in the attack. We were preparing to rush her for medical treatment when she passed away,” said district police chief Davis Nestell R Marak.
The identity of the militant killed in the exchange of fire is yet to be known although villagers told police on arrival that the four cadres had claimed to be from ASAK.
Police recovered a large number of empty AK ammunition cases from the encounter site which indicated the magnitude of the encounter between the two militant groups. The body of the teenager and the militant were later taken to Williamnagar civil hospital for post-mortem and the girl’s body was handed over to the family the same evening.
The GNLA has been battling several other militant groups to prevent them from encroaching into territory they claim to ‘dominate’ and there have been instances in the past when it had clashed with ASAK, AMEF and even the ANVC-B.  Incidents of attack on rival factions by the dominant GNLA have earlier been reported from South and East Garo Hills region.

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