Shillong: Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos of Meghalaya on Tuesday busted a Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) hideout, killing its top commander in a fierce gun battle, police said.
The militant was identified as Kiljang Sangma alias Jangjang, the GNLA's eastern command area commander, who masterminded the killing of tribal Garo woman Josbina M Sangma after she resisted an alleged bid to rape her.
The gun battle broke out in the GNLA's hideout in a thick forest area near Nengkhra village in East Garo Hills district when the rebels fired at the security forces who were tracking them, district police chief Davies NR Marak told IANS.
Nengkhra village is about 18 km from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills.
Kiljang was wanted in several cases of murder, kidnapping and extortion in Garo Hills. Police said his killing was a major setback to the outfit.
One AK rifle and a cache of ammunition, some documents and Bangladeshi currency notes were recovered from the site.
The GNLA, one of the five Garo tribal rebel groups, is fighting for a separate Garoland to be carved out of Meghalaya.
GNLA rebels, who number around 100, have unleashed terror in the five impoverished districts of Garo Hills in the last five years and killed over 200 people, including security personnel.
On June 4 last year, GNLA rebels fired five-six shots at Josbina's head in front of her children while her husband was prevented from coming out of the house at Raja Rongat village, bordering the India-Bangladesh border in South Garo Hills district.