45 IEDs and 11 petrol bombs unearthed in Durama Hills after raids
TURA: A massive search operation is underway in the dense forests of the Durama Hills range in East Garo Hills following the recovery of as many as 45 powerful claymore IED explosives and 11 petrol bombs from two different camps of the banned GNLA which were struck by police commandos on Thursday afternoon.
Meghalaya police SWAT teams aided by central forces raided two different camps of the GNLA located across the Simsang near Dorengkigre village, in the densely forested Durama Hills range, shortly after noon. The jungle hideouts of the militant outfit were located approximately 15 km from Williamnagar town.
At both camps there was a heavy exchange of fire from the militants holed up inside as the security forces advanced from the deep undergrowth leading to a prolonged gun battle before the militants fled.
One of the camps belonged to ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ Toding Ch Marak alias Rupanto and the other was under the command of self-styled ‘sergeant’ known by the GNLA name Sacheng Sangma.
After the guns had fallen silent, police search teams scouting the camp and its surroundings located a large number of explosives some of which had been planted along the trail while others had been kept buried underground.
In the first camp belonging to Rupanto, police teams dug up as many as 29 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and 11 petrol bombs.
In the second camp, police teams recovered 16 IEDs. At both camps, located close to each other, the IEDs and petrol bombs had reportedly been prepared and armed by bomb expert of the GNLA Karak Ch Momin alias Hedeo with assistance from Ulfa leader and another explosive expert Dristi Rajkhowa who is reported to have been staying at the GNLA camps with a number of Assam militants.
The search for more hidden explosives continues by the police teams in the Durama Hills despite darkness having fallen on Thursday evening.
According to police sources, the militants had been stockpiling the powerful IEDs which were to be gradually shipped out to different commands of the GNLA for use against security forces and other targets in the Garo Hills.It was found that some of the explosives had been planted along jungle trails leading to the camps which could be prepared for detonation within minutes in the event of a police raid, said Williamnagar police.