Averting a major tragedy, Special Force-10 commandos on Tuesday recovered another Improvised Explosive Device (IED) left by the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels in poll-bound Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district.
“The 5-kg bomb was recovered on the roadside of Cherangre area and it was later detonated on the spot, Meghalaya Police Chief Swaraj Bir Singh said.
SF-10 commandos launched a counter-insurgency operation against the GNLA in East Garo Hills district after they triggered an IED blast that killed Nationalist Congress Party candidate Jonathone Sangma and three others at Sawilgre village on Sunday night.
Singh said the bomb was abandoned by the GNLA rebels led by Sohan D. Shira. The military wing of the outfit fled from Rambogre area on Monday on seeing the movement of SF-10 commandos.
“However, we could not open fire as it was civilian populated area. Shira took advantage of the situation and escaped.
“Our commandos could have killed Shira, who we have been on the lookout for so long. But had the police fired, there were chances that innocent civilians and children would have been killed,” Singh said.
Singh said that the operation against the GNLA will continue to mount pressure on the rebels to surrender before the authorities.
On Monday, Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor had sought 10 additional companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) to be deployed in the Garo Hills and parts of West Khasi Hills district especially in militant-infested areas to ensure free, fair and peaceful conduct of assembly polls.
Elections to the 60-member Meghalaya assembly are slated on February 27.