Five policemen killed by militants in Meghalaya

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SHILLONGFive policemen were killed on Tuesday in an ambush by militants in Meghalaya’s south Garo Hills near the border with Bangladesh.

The police say the militant outfit Garo National Liberation Army was behind the attack.

The policemen were on their way to Tura to bring back prisoners facing trial when they were reportedly ambushed.

The heavily armed militants first set off an explosion, then opened fire on the police team traveling in a gypsy. They allegedly took three AK-47 rifles and a carbine.

The Garo National Liberation Army has been fighting for a ‘sovereign Garoland’ in the western parts of Meghalaya and is active in the Garo Hills region. They are allegedly involved in several incidents of killing, abduction, extortion, bomb blasts and attacks on security forces.

The killings are being seen as retaliation after recent counter insurgency operations against the outfit’s hideout and cadres by security forces.

The attackers are believed to be linked to the militants who killed seven people in Assam’s Goalpara district, near the border with Meghalaya on Sunday. The militants, dressed in army fatigues, had opened fire on a group of Diwali revelers playing cards outside a tea stall.

The army was called in after the killings. The area has been tense for weeks over a conflict between two groups of tribals – the Rabhas and Garos. All those killed were Rabha tribals.