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Garo rebel groups on abduction spree

Assam trader kidnapped; freedom for three more after gun battle

TURA: An Assam-based trader has been abducted by suspected Garo militants, even as South Garo Hills police on Tuesday successfully rescued three kidnapped Assam traders following a brief gun battle near a remote village called Radigre on Tuesday morning.
The trader who runs a grocery store in Adokgre village of North Garo Hills was abducted by suspected Garo militants while on his way home in the Assam-Garo Hills border on Monday evening.
The abduction has led to a massive security operation along the inter-state border as police from both states and the army fan out to flush out the ultras from the area.
The abduction has also prompted traders from Adokgre to shut shop on Tuesday as a mark of protest against the incident.
The middle aged trader, identified as Batchu Jain has been running a grocery shop in Adokgre for a long time.
He left Adokgre en route to Dhupdhara in Assam at around 5:30 PM travelling on a private vehicle along with other passengers when the kidnappers, numbering 3-4, stopped them at an isolated spot, 30 meters inside Assam territory.
The armed men sought out Jain and after identifying him took him away in a waiting car back into the Garo Hills sector.
The banned GNLA is the prime suspect in the abduction of trader Jain as the group had recently served several demand notes on traders and businessmen in the Kharkutta-Adokgre region. Victim Batchu Jain is believed to have been one of the recipients of the militants tax demand.
At the same time, police do not rule out the involvement of petty armed gangs known to operate in the area using pseudo names of militant groups.
Meanwhile, South Garo Hills police have successfully rescued three Assam based traders following a brief gun battle near a remote village called Radigre on Tuesday morning.
The three Assam traders hailing from Mankachar town in Dhubri district were abducted by militants reportedly belonging to a splinter group of the A’chik Matgrik Elite Force (AMEF) on Friday last when they went to sell their wares at the weekly market of Emangre village, not far from Radigre.
The main AMEF outfit’s leaders had surrendered to authorities in December last, but failed to reign in most of their cadres who went on to form splinter armed organizations with the weapons in their possession.
Based on information that the kidnappers were camping in Radigre village with their victims, SWAT commandos from the district force launched a counter-insurgency operation in the area on Monday night.
On Tuesday morning, at approximately 8:15 AM, police teams laying in ambush spotted four armed men coming down to Radigre village along with the three captives to have food.
On seeing the police team the militants reacted immediately opening fire indiscriminately.
The police teams also retaliated and forced the militants to flee into the jungles leaving behind the three captive traders who were rescued by the security forces unharmed.

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