In a major breakthrough, Nikson G Momin, the self-styled chairman of the Garo militant outfit Liberation Achik Elite Force (LAEF) was killed in an encounter with security forces in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district in the early hours on Thursday.
On a tip-off, a special Meghalaya police team combed the Rongsak area during which militants fired at them leading to a fierce encounter at Darugree at around 3:00 am in which Nikson alias Dilkam and his personal security officer Rakpat were killed, Superintendent of police Sylvester Nongtnger said.
A grenade was hurled at the police vehicle, but it did not explode, while 28 rounds were exchanged in 15 minutes between the two sides, the SP said. Two managed to escape.
Two pistols, one grenade and some documents were found from the slain rebels, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said making a suo moto statement at the Assembly after the incident.
LAEF, a Garo rebel group, floated in 2005 for fighting for a separate Achik (Garo) land has been engaged in extortion and kidnapping in the Garo hills.
The outfit was floated by a former Meghalaya Police commando Peter Marak, who was killed by the police.
Arrested LAEF cadre have revealed that the NSCN-IM had provided the outfit with AK-47s, automatic M20 pistols and Universal Machine Guns besides hand grenades.
Most of the top leaders of the group have been eliminated by the police.