Militant commander escapes, ‘girlfriend’ in police net; One ultra shot dead
TURA: East Garo Hills Police attacked a village hideout of the banned GNLA where final preparations were underway to assemble explosive devices to target security forces and shot dead one of the cadres while its dreaded action commander managed to flee leaving behind his girlfriend in remote Songsak region early Monday morning.
The encounter took place at daybreak in remote Norek Bolonggre village of Songsak, 25 km from district headquarters Williamnagar, after police launched a late night operation to seek out the militants’ hideout.
They came across three thatched huts on the outskirts of the village and found a militant sentry on duty outside the first house fast asleep. SWAT commandos gagged him and took him away from the spot.
“We captured him (sentry) alive and came to know that the rest of the cadres were sleeping in the second hut while their leader Jimmy was in the third hut with his girlfriend. Since all three huts were adjoining one another and there were women and children of the village inside we decided to wait it out,” said district police chief Davis Nestell R Marak while giving details of the operation.
When dawn broke a militant carrying an AK rifle came out of the second hut to answer to the call of nature. On seeing the commandos in the compound he opened fire only to be shot dead in the return fire.
As the fierce encounter began the women folk and children from inside the house came out and began to flee in several directions prompting police to restrain their attack to avoid civilian casualties.
It was during that time that police spotted an unarmed man fleeing from one of the thatched houses.
“Since he did not have any weapon we could not be certain he was a militant. Only later when we found Jimmy’s girlfriend inside the third house that we came to know he had fled without any weapon leaving her behind,” said the police chief.
The militant leader’s girlfriend identified as Fatima M Marak (23) hailing from Mahendraganj in South West Garo Hills district has been arrested for her involvement with the outfit. She had been staying with her militant boyfriend for quite some time.
This is the second time that the GNLA commander has managed to give police the slip.
A few months ago he escaped from a similar situation when police attacked his hideout but had to desist from firing after a child from the village suddenly ran out and came in between the sniper and the militant.
In Monday’s encounter, police believe as many as three militants may have sustained bullet injuries following the discovery of blood spots at the back of the house through which the six militants had fled.
A large number of explosive devices, arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter.
The militant who was shot dead was identified from his GNLA identity card as one Cheman Momin of Dalu, West Garo Hills.
The GNLA sentry who was captured alive was identified as 18-year-old Bishno Sangma of Bolonggre village. He had only recently completed military training with the banned outfit.