GNLA prime suspect lNon-payment of tax reason behind blast: Police
TURA: In one of the most audacious attacks by suspected Garo militants in the heart of Williamnagar town, a powerful improvised explosive device was detonated outside a wine store at the centre of the market during peak trading time on Saturday noon leading to nine civilians sustaining injuries.
Among the nine people who sustained injuries four are said to be serious and have been taken to Tura civil hospital together with another minor injury victim for treatment.
The prime accused in the attack during the weekly market day is the banned Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) which operates from its strongholds in the Durama Hills, across the Simsang river.
According to eyewitness accounts, Saturday being a weekly market day people were purchasing essential items from the stores when the IED hidden in a bag and placed outside Warimong wine store at the centre of the market exploded with a deafening sound at around 12:45 pm.
The store belongs to a prominent businessman from Williamnagar identified as Winderson R Sangma.
The impact from the blast was such that the wine store was totally destroyed with even its roof being blown off and a stop attendant inside sustaining serious injuries. The other victims were reportedly passing through the area when the explosion took place. Some of the victims were thrown to the ground due to the impact of the blast and remained there before locals with support from the police lifted them and rushed them to the Williamnagar civil hospital for emergency treatment.
The nine injured victims have been identified as Probith N Marak (22) of Songsak, Jolash Marak (48) of Chekwegre, Pledash T Sangma (48) of Sobokgre, Andrew R Marak (35) of Chekwegre, Rosel Momin (50) of Rongbokgre, Jacob Marak (29) of Rongonggre, Pisen Sangma (72) of Warimagre, Shyam Sharma (16) of Nabakgre and Silvarinba D Sangma ( 41 year old lady) of Warima.
Following the incident security has been tightened throughout the town and the blast site cordoned off. Deputy Commissioner Cyril Diengdoh and SP Davis Nestell R Marak visited the blast site and also the injured victims at the hospital and arranged for the seriously injured to be shifted to Tura for medical treatment.
GNLA tax: Meanwhile, Meghalaya police have blamed the banned GNLA for the Williamnagar market IED blast and stateed that the reason was because traders and businessmen have refused to comply with the financial demands of the militant group.
The GNLA had reportedly served demand notes ranging from one to ten lakh rupees on traders and businessmen at the start of the December month, last year. They were reportedly angry that most traders had not paid them their tax and to send a message across the militant group had lobbed a hand grenade at Kundu store, last month.
According to senior police officials, the militants triggered the IED blast to send a message across to the business community.
GNLA area commander of Williamnagar, Ajan Ch Momin alias Jimmy is accused of dispatching a cadre to the town to place the IED on the orders of their military chief Sohan D Shira.
The attack comes less than a week after North Garo Hills police intercepted a Tura registered Bolero vehicle in Bajengdoba area and recovered over a thousand gelatine sticks and electronic detonators that are used for IEDs which were reportedly sent by the ULFA for the GNLA.