Shillong, July 24 (IANS) A police commando was killed and another injured Tuesday in a fierce gunfight with Garo rebels in west Meghalaya, even as security forces busted a joint training camp for insurgents in the area, police said.
The gunfight broke out when Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militants opened fire at a team of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team backed by Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) commandos raiding their hideout at Nabokgre in the district.
"CoBRA sub-inspector Pradeep Kumar was killed while commando Munna Kumar Yadav was critically wounded in the gun-battle," state police chief N. Ramachandran told IANS. He had earlier said the officer was injured and the commando killed, but corrected it after receiving further information.
The injured commando was flown to an army base hospital at Guwahati, while a hunt is on to trace the rebels who fled after the shootout, he added.
Ramachandran meanwhile ruled out aerial attacks against GNLA rebels.
"We cannot use helicopters for operations in our own country as it may affect civilians in our attempt to take on the GNLA rebels," he told journalists.
He, however, maintained that offensive crackdown would continue against the GNLA rebels. "There's no question of stopping. The operation will continue and we cannot reveal our plans," the police chief said.
On Monday, security forces busted a joint training camp of the GNLA and the United Liberation Front of Asom at Memanang in East Garo Hills.
"We have busted the training camp of ULFA and GNLA (Monday) evening after a fierce gunbattle with the rebels in the foothills of Durama," Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Rajiv Mehta told IANS.
A massive combing operation meanwhile was on for the fifth consecutive day inside the thick jungles of Durama Hills range
The GNLA, one of five Garo rebel groups fighting for a separate 'Garoland' in the western Meghalaya, has unleashed a reign of terror killing innocent civilians and slapping extortion notes. It is headed by police officer-turned-rogue Champion R. Sangma.