Five suspected militants looting coal trucks on the national highway near Shalang in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills escaped during an encounter with the police.
The encounter took place last night when the drivers of the trucks informed the anti-dacoity camp at nearby Wahtre and police rushed to the spot, police superintendent M Kharkrang said.
The miltants opened fire on seeing the policemen, who in turn retaliated. The exchange lasted for about 10 minutes.
The militants, however, escaped into the nearby thick forest.
Later, the police recovered one gun from the place, he said adding search operations are on.