New Delhi – At least four separatist militants were killed Friday in a gunbattle with security forces in India’s north-eastern state of Meghalaya, a news report said.
Five more suspected rebels were arrested after the shootout in the East Garo Hills district, the IANS news agency reported.
The fighting erupted while troopers were conducting searches following intelligence that a group of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militants was in the area.
‘After nearly three hours of fierce gunbattle, we managed to kill four and capture five GNLA militants,’ a police official told the IANS. ‘We are yet to identify the dead rebels.’
A large cache of weapons and ammunition was recovered from the area.
The GNLA is a militant group fighting for a homeland for the Garo tribe in Meghalaya. The outfit is involved in large-scale extortion and abduction of coal miners in the region.
India’s volatile north-east is home to more than 200 ethnic groups and has been plagued by insurgency throughout the past half-century.
An estimated 50 militant groups operate in the north-eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya.