Shillong: Nine Meghalaya Police personnel had a close shave Tuesday when suspected Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels triggered a blast on their convoy`s route in the East Garo Hills district, police said.
No one was injured in the improvised explosive device (IED) blast.
"The explosion occurred near Chisobibra bridge, around 9.45 a.m., when police personnel travelling in two gypsies were proceeding towards Williamnagar to Tura," J.F.K. Marak, district police chief of East Garo Hills, told reporters.
Chisobibra is 8 km from Williamnagar, district headquarter of East Garo Hills and around 300 km from Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya. The IED was detonated by 12 volt battery from a distance of about 100 metre, Marak said.
He said the rebels also fired some rounds while retreating to the jungles. Though there is no casualty, Marak said that the wind shield of one gypsy slightly cracked as it was hit by a stone.
"We have seized a 100 metre long wire and 12 volt battery from the blast site," the police official said.
A massive combing operation has been launched in the area to arrest GNLA rebels who triggered the blast.
"Jimmy, area commander of GNLA, is suspected to be behind this," Marak said. The GNLA had threatened to carry out retaliatory attacks against security forces after one of their top commanders was gunned down.
Sohan D. Shira, military wing chief of GNLA, threatened retaliation.
"If our GNLA cadres are killed in this way, then from now onwards all those people (security forces) travelling in vehicles will also meet the same fate. This will happen very shortly," Shira had said.
The GNLA, one of five Garo rebel groups fighting for a separate "Garoland" in western Meghalaya, is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R. Sangma. Sangma is presently lodged in Shillong jail after being arrested from the India-Bangladesh border last year.
Over 40 people, including security personnel, have been killed, and more than 10 people were abducted for ransom by GNLA in the last three years.