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Ex-policeman among five held in Meghalaya for smuggling

IANS | Last Updated: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 15:30

Shillong: Five arms smugglers, including a former Nagaland Police official, have been arrested in Meghalaya and a cache of high-frequency wireless sets seized from them, police said Sunday.

"Acting on a tip-off, we arrested five people Saturday night and seized six high-frequency wireless sets from their hideout at Maikhuli area bordering Assam`s Kamrup district," Ri-Bhoi district police chief CVS Reddy told a news agency.

The China-made TYT TH-F8 wireless sets smuggled from Myanmar were meant to be delivered by the smugglers to Rakkam D. Shira, finance secretary of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA).

The outlawed GNLA is fighting for a separate Garoland carved out of Meghalaya.

Robert Sangma, a former Nagaland Armed Police branch sub-inspector, and Moya Khohung were the first to be arrested from Byrnihat town in Ri-Bhoi district, he said.

Sangma said he was working as a security commander at CMJ Breweries located at Byrnihat after taking voluntary retirement from the police force.

Police later raided their hideout at Maikhuli and recovered the wireless handsets besides nabbing three more smugglers -- Zamthoson Haokip, Suntak Prem Baite and Ramzan Khubang.

Police said it was a major breakthrough since all five were supplying various types of arms and ammunition to the GNLA.

Efforts are on to find out the actual suppliers and their links with rebel groups in the northeastern states.

In recent months, Meghalaya and Assam Police have seized rocket launchers, shells and foreign-made pistols meant to be delivered to the GNLA.

The GNLA is believed to have been formed with the help of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) with the intention of extortion in the coal-rich areas of the Garo Hills region.

The Garo outfit, declared a terrorist organisation, forged an operational alliance with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), which provided it access to sophisticated arms and ammunition.

GNLA rebels, who number around 200, unleashed terror in the region in the past one year and killed over 50 people, including security personnel.

First Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 15:30

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