Meghalaya launches operation to rescue abducted official


Shillong : Security forces have launched an operation in western Meghalaya to rescue a state government official and two Assam-based traders abducted by Garo rebels, an official said Tuesday.

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Heavily armed GNLA rebels abducted two traders — Dulal Modak and Rokybul Haque – and P.K. Boro, the block development officer (BDO) posted at Dadenggre from two areas of Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district Monday.

Boro was abducted at gunpoint from his official chamber at Dadenggre block while the two traders were kidnapped from Kalchengpara weekly market.

“The search operation is on,” Inspector General of Police (Western Range) GHP Raju told IANS.

Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and Meghalaya’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos have been pressed in to service to trace the hostages.

The GNLA earlier had sent extortion demands of Rs.50 lakh to Boro through mobile text messages.

“We have not got any information whether the GNLA has contacted the family members of Boro and the traders for ransom,” Raju said.

The GNLA, headed by police officer-turned-outlaw Champion R. Sangma, has unleashed a reign of terror in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills in the western part of Meghalaya.

Over 20 people, including security personnel have been killed while more than 10 people were abducted for ransom in the area in the last one year by GNLA rebels.

Champion, who claims to be fighting for a separate Garoland, has been camping in Bangladesh for several months in search of support.

The outfit has also forged an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group, A’chik Special Dragon Party.

The GNLA has over 100 rebels, including a few women cadres, operating in the three impoverished districts. The outfit has procured a cache of HK53 rifles and explosives to add to their arsenal.

The outfit had earlier slapped extortion demands ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore on government officials, ministers, legislators and businessmen.

The Garo Hills region is being used as a safe haven by various northeast-based militant groups.