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GNLA suffers body blow as top leader surrenders

Outfit’s second in command hit by demonetisation

GNLA second in command Baichung Momin (third from left) with his wife and son after his surrender in Chokpot, South Garo Hills on Friday.
GNLA second in command Baichung Momin (third from left) with his wife and son after his surrender in Chokpot, South Garo Hills on Friday.

TURA: The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) lost another senior cadre after its second in command, Nikam Ch Momin alias Baichung Momin, surrendered in Chokpot on Friday morning.
The surrender of Baichung, who had recently become the outfit’s number two de facto leader following the surrender of deputy chief Rupanto (Toding) and action commander Jimmy Momin, is another major blow to GNLA supremo Sohan D. Shira.
Baichung, who was wanted in a series of cases, including murder and kidnapping, was the last senior-most cadre of the GNLA.
“His surrender has broken GNLA’s backbone and now it is only Sohan D. Shira who remains of some importance,” said South Garo Hills SP Anand Mishra.
With sustained police operations against him and the efforts of the church to bring him back to the mainstream, Baichung surfaced from the dense forests at Chokpot Warima, 5 km from Chokpot town, around 9.30 am.
Clutching a Bible in his hand on Friday, the dreaded militant walked towards the delegation waiting for him and broke down on seeing his wife and son.
He was escorted to Chokpot police station where he handed over a German Heckler and Koch automatic rifle, ammunition and other accessories to Mishra. Other senior police and CRPF officers were present.
The Centre’s demonetisation has also played a crucial role in crippling the militant activities in Garo Hills. Baichung’s attempts to channel old currency notes to the tune of Rs 20 lakh were foiled by the police. Two of his aides were arrested and his two bank accounts in South Garo Hills were frozen.
“This surrender came after Baichung survived many encounters, the recent being in Dabalgre where two GNLA militants were killed. Recently, all terror-generated funds belonging to Baichung was detected by South Garo Hills police and his accounts were frozen,” said Mishra.
On Thursday, a GNLA cadre from East Garo Hills surrendered.
Baichung originally belonged to ANVC and after the group’s ceasefire in 2004, he came overground.
Sometime between 2010 and 2011, he got involved in a brawl with a group of revellers at the GHADC guest house in Sisobibra on the outskirts of Williamnagar. He bludgeoned a youth to death during the altercation. Baichung fled on the same day and joined the GNLA where he rose through the ranks.
He, along with Hedeo Momin (Cello-pa), soon took control of the Chokpot region transforming it into a terror zone for many years during which kidnaps, murders, extortion and ambushes with IEDs became the order of the day.

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