TURA, Jan 11: The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) was dealt another body blow on Thursday with an early morning encounter killing its Deputy Commander-in-chief (Dy C-in-C). The encounter took place at about 6:30 AM in the morning near the village of Bawe Duragre, about 20 kms from Williamnagar and was led by the East Garo hills (EGH) police team along with SF-10 commandoes.
The Dy C-in-C has been identified as Matchallang M Sangma. The dreaded militant is said to have been involved in a huge number of cases, including the killing of surrendered cadres of the outfit.
According to police sources, a group of around 13 heavily armed militants had been camping up in the village in a makeshift camp just outside Bawe Duragre village when police commandos launched an early morning raid. The village is located on the southern bank of Simsang River.
The police team was spotted by the sentry on duty leading to heavy exchange of fire between them.
“It was a very heavy exchange of fire between the GNLA cadres and the police and lasted for a few minutes. The militants ran for cover leading to the end of the exchange,” said SP of EGH, Ringrang TG Momin.
A search through the camp of the outfit led to the recovery of the body of the GNLA Dy C-in-C and action commander, Matchallang, an AK 56 rifle, Chinese hand grenades and Bangladesh currency notes and seals among other documents of the rebel group.
Matchallang was a close confidante of the elusive C-in-C of the outfit, Sohan D Shira and hailed from the village of Nengmandalgre in EGH.
The militant had been involved in the killing of many people including an elderly villager and the abduction of two Nokmas. He had also led the group of rebels to the house of surrendered GNLA finance Secretary Rakkam Shira and shot him dead, last year.
Most recently he had executed another surrendered militant known as Kamdak in December.
The killing of the deputy is seen as a huge blow to the outfit whose numbers have dwindled over the past year. Police have recently put the strength of the outfit at around 20.