Meghalaya confirms rebel leader`s death

Derhasar was killed after security forces raided a hideout of NDFB and GNLA rebels at Guresimram village.

Shillong: Meghalaya Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh on Monday confirmed reports that outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) leader Derhasar has been killed in a shootout with the security forces. An alert has been sounded in the state.

"The family members of the slain rebel have identified the body of Derhasar alias Dijen Dhigwara Narzary, the general secretary of the NDFB anti-talk faction," Lyngdoh said.

Derhasar was killed Saturday along with his bodyguard Bwidha Gawri after security forces raided a hideout of NDFB and Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels at Guresimram village in Meghalaya`s East Garo Hills district.

"The forces have been put on alert in Garo Hills region and steps are being taken to thwart any retaliatory attacks," SK Jain, chief of the intelligence wing of the police said.

Police stations and outposts, especially in areas close to Assam border, have been told to maintain a constant vigil, he said.

After Saturday`s shootout, security personnel recovered a powerful improvised explosive device, an AK rifle, three Chinese-made grenades, two cell phones and two wireless sets, among other equipment.

Dersahar`s killing is a major blow to the anti-talk faction of NDFB as he was considered the key man in the outfit after the arrest of the outfit`s founder, Ranjan Daimary.

Police said the slain rebel was involved in terror activities in Assam.

"His (Dersahar) presence in the hideout has proven the nexus between the NDFB with the GNLA. It was major achievement to flush these rebels out from the area," Lyngdoh said.

He added that combing operations will continue to flush out rebels from the three districts of Garo Hills in western part of Meghalaya.

The NDFB, fighting for an independent homeland for the Bodo tribe, had agreed to a ceasefire in 2005, but it is blamed for continuing attacks on the security forces.

The outfit was also allegedly involved in the Oct 30, 2008, serial explosions in Assam that killed around 100 people and wounded 500 more.

The GNLA, one of the five Garo rebel groups, is also fighting for a sovereign Garoland in western Meghalaya. It is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R Sangma.

IANS

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