Friday, June 21, 2024
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LAEF regrouping, expanding in Garo Hills, reveal arrested ultras

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Outfit’s finance commander and hardcore cadre in police net

TURA: Two senior militants of the Liberation of A’chik Elite Force (LAEF) outfit arrested by police on Saturday night have revealed that the armed group has been expanding their area of operations and making inroads into Garo Hills causing security forces to sit up and take notice.

The revelation came through after the arrest of a senior cadre of the outfit identified as Mingnam K. Sangma by North Garo Hills Police.

Police picked up Mingnam (24) from his wife’s home in Rongtu village of Bajengdoba. He hailed from Gosingpita village and was originally with the ANVC-B group before joining the LAEF.

Based on his leads a joint team of Garo Hills and Assam police raided Garo Kasumari village in Goalpara district and nabbed the commander of the finance unit of LAEF Sengrak K Marak (23). He was overseeing the financial operations of the group in the areas of Bajengdoba, Aruakgre, Achotchonggre, Dadenggre, Dollonggre all the way to Tikrikilla.

Both arrested members had been on leave from the group and taking rest at their respective homes when they were caught.

What has worried security forces is the sudden presence of a large number of LAEF militants with sophisticated weapons inside Garo Hills.

The outfit had virtually ceased to exist following the killing of their military chief and former police commando Peter Marak in 2006-07.

The arrested duo has revealed to police that there are as many as thirteen AK rifles, ten numbers of 9mm pistols and other assortment of weapons and grenades including rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) in just two command structures of the group.

“We had been receiving regular flow of intelligence inputs on the movement of armed groups in the district whose identity was previously unclear. With these arrests and their confession we now know that it was the LAEF which is trying to expand into the region,” revealed district police chief J.F.K Marak.

The finance commander Sengrak who belonged to the 2006 batch of trained recruits under late Peter Marak has confessed to having five AKs, five 9mm pistols, five .22 pistols, five hand grenades and even an RPG in his group of eighteen members.

All these weapons were provided by the outfit’s central command headed by its ‘commander in-chief’ identified as one Mathew Marak who is believed to have the rest of the armament in his possession.

The extortion money from the coal trade in Garo Hills is believed to have financed the group in recruitment and procurement of arms to a great extent.

Mingnam, on the other hand, told police interrogators that he joined the ANVC-B in 2011 and was trained in West Khasi Hills District under the watchful eye of ‘commander-in-chief’ Mukosh Marak. He claims to have passed out of training with 97 other recruits from the ANVC-B.

Arrests reveal LAEF hierarchy

The arrest of two senior members of LAEF has spilled the beans on the top leadership of the group behind the sudden revival of an outfit which many had written off just a few years ago.

Police now know that the new chairman of LAEF is one Biltang while Mathew Marak of Bakrapur village of Assam is the military chief. Mathew was a senior cadre who was arrested with three other cadres in Ri-Bhoi district some years ago. He spent some time in Jowai Jail before securing bail and returning to revive his old outfit.

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