24 GNLA give up, Sohan flees to B’desh

A section of GNLA cadres with arms and ammunition in city on Friday.(ST)

SHILLONG: In yet another blow to the proscribed GNLA, as many as 24 GNLA cadres on Friday surrendered before the State Chief Secretary K.S. Kropha, DGP Rajiv Mehta and other police officials.
Among those who surrendered include “action commander,” Hedeo Ch Momin, “area commander,” Chingnang and “deputy area commander,” Sengrak M Marak from West Garo Hills command of the outfit and four personal bodyguards of GNLA C-in-C Sohan D Shira.
This was third biggest surrender of the GNLA militants in 15 days time. Earlier this month, 30 hardcore cadres of GNLA including its Finance Secretary laid down arms on two separate occasions
The rebels also deposited a huge cache of weapons including two AK and one SLR rifles, two pistols, 1,304 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition, 3,446 medium machine guns and incriminating documents.
Of to total 24 surrendered GNLA cadres, five were from West Khasi Hills.
“Sohan escaped to Bangladesh together with another bodyguard from South Garo Hills identified as Lukseng  a couple of weeks back due to the operations against us along the Darikgre-Tilikari route to Bangladesh,” Alpha Ch. Marak, one of his bodyguards, told journalists.
“We were forced to surrender since we cannot bear the brunt of the operation launched by the state against us. We have not been able to stay in one place but have always been on the run,” Hedeo told reporters later.
“We had to remain alert all the time and in the process face a lot of hardships,” he added.
Hedeo said the huge amounts of ammunition, which were purchased from Bangladesh, were buried underground by Sohan at Durama.
He denied his role in killing of Josbina, who head was blown off in front of her children at  Chokpot last year.
He added that at present there are 40-42 GNLA cadres left.
Boost for police: The GNLA surrender ceremony that took place on Friday was a huge boost to the Meghalaya Police as huge amount of ammunitions were brought in by Hedeo Ch Momin who led the GNLA cadres to surrender.
The ceremony was delayed as huge amounts of ammunitions had to be ferried.
Ops pay dividends: As many as 136 GNLA militants  have been arrested and 119 have surrendered till date this year due to the continuous efforts of police, NGOs and church leaders.
A statement by the police said that the counter insurgency operations in 2016 which includes Operation Hill Storm- III resulted in the surrender of 119 militants and arrest of as many as 136. Moreover, the operations have also led to recovery of huge cache of  arms and ammunition which includes more than 1200  gelatin sticks and 1600 electronic and non-electronic detonators.