Shillong: Security forces on Thursday busted a hideout of the United A`chik Liberation Army (UALA) in western Meghalaya, killing three rebels of the outfit in a fierce gun battle, police said.
A police spokesperson said a critically injured rebel was captured alive from a field, while UALA chief Singbirth Marak alias Norrok X Momin managed to escape.
The gun battle broke out at the UALA`s hideout in Chiokgre area, 10 km from Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills, when the rebels fired at the security forces who were tracking them, JFK Marak, the district police chief of East Garo Hills, said.
"Three UALA rebels died on the spot after the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos retaliated to indiscriminate firing from the rebels," Marak said.
One pistol and grenades, besides some incriminating documents, were recovered from the site.
"Our men are still on the ground, tracking Norrok (UALA chairman) who managed to escape from the gun battle site. We have no idea if he was injured in the gunfight, but we suspect he is hiding in the Sampalgre area," Marak said.
UALA is a splinter group of the breakaway faction of the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC-B) and is fighting for a separate Garoland, seeking that a state be carved out of Meghalaya, comprising the five impoverished districts of Garo Hills.
The UALA chairman is wanted by Meghalaya Police in the killing of two Meghalaya jail officials at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills.
He is also wanted by Assam Police for masterminding the killing of seven Rabha tribesmen and injuring nine others at Gendabari village in Assam`s Goalpara district earlier this month.