Gun battle rages in Meghalaya



A daylong gun battle continued Thursday between rebels of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and security forces in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district following a crackdown on a militant camp, an official said.

"The gun battle, which started at 8 a.m. this (Thursday) morning, is still on as we are speaking. The rebels are continuing with their firing and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) commandos are retaliating," district police chief Davies N.R. Marak told IANS.

"There was a lull for sometime but they (rebels) are continuing with their firing as security forces search the camp area," he added.

Marak said there were no reports yet if anyone was arrested or killed in the crackdown or the gun fight in Adugre area, about 370 km from the state capital Shillong.

The crackdown was launched on the GNLA camp two days after members of the militant group killed a 35-year-old Garo woman. The rebels shot her dead in front of her children after she resisted their rape bid.

The GNLA camp is located at Adugre in the foothills of Durama Hills. This hill range is a vast densely forested area in Garo Hills which has been used by GNLA and ULFA rebels as sanctuary. Sohan D. Shira, chief of the GNLA's military wing, is controlling his rebels from Durama.

The GNLA, one of the five Garo tribal rebel groups, is fighting for a separate Garoland to be carved out of Meghalaya. - IANS