GNLA militants abduct 3 cops, kill one

Cops lured into fishing trip

From Our Correspondent

 TURA: Three policemen who were part of an armed section manning a bank at Gambegre development block, 20 kms from Tura, were lured into a trap by GNLA militants who abducted them and later shot dead one of the victims on Saturday evening.

The brazen attack occurred even as the new Meghalaya DGP N Ramachandran was in Tura holding a press conference claiming that the outfit has no public support and police were fully prepared to aggressively take on them.

This is the first incident of policemen being abducted by militants in the history of the State.

As many as fifteen well-armed GNLA militants, allegedly led by ‘southern commander’ Baichung Momin accosted the three policemen during their fishing trip that was arranged by a villager from Jongbugre village, 3 kms from Gambegre.

The villager Pintu Ch Marak, who has since gone missing, convinced the three police personnel, Havildar William Maiong, constable Sambu Dalu and Naik Grejilstone Momin to accompany him to the nearby Dilni stream for fishing since Saturday was a half closure day for the bank.

One armed section of the district police provides security to the State Bank of India branch at Gambegre.

Preliminary reports had stated that the policemen were waylaid while returning from the Gambegre village. However, a thorough questioning of the two survivors revealed that the militants meticulously planned the operation in which the accused villager played a role.

The three policemen left for the fishing site with the villager on the banks of the river as early as midday.

It was towards the evening as  dusk began to set in that the militants numbering 15 arrived at the river site.

As many as five insurgents in camouflage dress carried AK rifles while others in civilian clothes brandished pistols.

The policemen tried to escape when the militants arrived but were soon outrun and overpowered.

They were taken captive to Jongbugre village for interrogation where they were mercilessly beaten up with rifle butts and sticks causing serious injuries.

During the torture and interrogation William Maiong reportedly broke free and tried to escape but was caught by the pursuing militants who later dragged him towards the Gambegre road and shot him dead in cold blood at approximately 8:30 pm. His body was recovered at 9:30 am on Sunday morning.

He had sustained six bullet injuries on his body and police have recovered three empty shells of AK rifle and an equal number from 9mm pistol rounds next to the body.

The militants then let off the two other policemen who could barely walk from the injuries sustained. They managed to crawl their way back to the bank at around 1 am and alerted the other constables who in turn informed the police headquarters in Tura.

Highly placed police sources have said that the group was led by Baichung Momin and his three hardcore accomplices identified as Techang, Rakkam and Laben.

This group has reportedly been moving around the area for the last few weeks criss-crossing from Chokpot to Purakhasia and Gambegre.

The route from Gambegre-Babagre and Amingre is a well known jungle route used by militants since the days of the ALMA and ANVC groups. From this route militants can enter into several directions beginning from Mellim towards Salmanpara and Ampati or head towards Rangsakona and Purakhasia border belt.

Govt condemns abduction and killing: The State Government has, in the meantime, expressed its condemnation on the abduction and subsequent cold blooded murder of Havildar William Maiong who was on Bank security duties at Gambegre, West Garo Hills district, on Saturday evening. “This cowardly act by a number of suspected GNLA militants deserves to be condemned by all sections of the community. The Government will make all attempts till the perpetrators of this cowardly act are apprehended and dealt with in accordance with the law. The Government expresses its condolences to the family of the deceased police official. The Government also reiterates its firm commitment to take all necessary steps to tackle the problem posed by the GNLA and similar groups, and will not spare any effort in bringing complete peace and normalcy throughout the State, ” a Government release stated.

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