Close shave for UALA chief

Five Garo rebels shot dead in encounter

TURA: Five hardcore militants of the Norrok X Momin-led United A’chik Liberation Army (UALA) were shot dead by police commandos in a fierce gun battle that raged for close to 30 minutes at Chiokgre village, near Williamnagar, on Tuesday morning.

Police commandos from the SWAT together with CoBRA commandos launched the early morning raid on Chiokgre village, 10 kms from Williamnagar town in East Garo Hills, after receiving intelligence reports about the presence of a large group of armed men in a makeshift camp close to Norrok X Momin’s family residence. A police official was injured.

The real name of Norrok is Singbirth Marak.

During the 4 am exchange of fire in which the militants opened indiscriminate fire to halt the advance of a police team, five militants were killed and the rest escaped, including their commander-in-chief Norrok Momin himself.

“Norrok was inside his house along with 10 other militants and our commandos had him in their sight but

due to the sudden appearance of a child who came in front of him they had to refrain from opening fire lest the child got hit,” revealed district police chief Davis Nestell R Marak. There were reportedly as many as 30 cadres in two separate locations when the raid was conducted.

“As many as 20 other UALA militants were taking shelter in a makeshift camp in a forested area just metres from Norrok’s house,” informed the police chief.

During the encounter one police sub-inspector sustained a bullet injury on his leg but was said to be out of danger and currently under treatment.

Police seized from the site of the encounter three AK rifles with five magazines,109 live ammunition, a pistol with three magazines, 22 empty cases of AK ammunition, two demand notes along with embroidered name plates and shoulder badges.

All the five deceased were identified from their name tags found with them. They were: Sengnang N Sangma (29) and Batnagar R Marak (20) both hailing from Chiokgre village, Dikdik D Momin (26) from Sampalgre village, Kallam R Marak (29) from Dawagittim village and Kekil R Marak (27) from Kasumari village of Goalpara district in Assam.

The police were on their trail since the April 30 attack on a petrol station by UALA militants. In that attack on the station the militants had fired from the boundary wall of the district industries complex before fleeing across Simsang river towards Sampalgre and Chiokgre villages which are known to be strongholds of Norrok’s group.

While no civilian was injured in the petrol station attack the militants themselves sustained losses when the weapon of one of their own cadres misfired. He was later found by the security forces, abandoned and bleeding.

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