Rise in ULFA's extortion activities in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Oct 22 (UNI) Under pressure from the security forces in Assam, the proscribed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) had increased its extortion activities in the Garo Hills area of Meghalaya.

Intelligence sources, based in Garo Hills, told UNI here today that the ULFA's 109th battalion was active at Phulbari, Garobadha, Mendipathar and other adjoining areas in the plains of West Garo Hills district.

The Garo Hills, comprising three districts - east, west and south Garo Hills - in the western part of Meghalaya, shares its border with Assam and Bangladesh. The district facilitates as a safe corridor for North East-based militants to cross over to Bangladesh.

The dreaded Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim also had its operational base inside the Balpakram National Park with the support of the nascent tribal Garo militant outfit - the Liberation A'chik Elite Force.

Both the Army and BSF sources confirmed that the ULFA was operating from Garo hills, using the border with Bangladesh.

''We have confirmed reports of the ULFA serving extortion notes to businessmen over the past few months,'' intelligence officials stated.

The whole operandi was being managed by one Madan Koch with the support of 34 other active ULFA cadres, they asserted.

Earlier, the Meghalaya police arrested one Kedarson Sangma, suspected to be an ULFA courier, from Rajabala area in West Garo Hills.

Meanwhile, the BSF officials, monitoring the increased activities of insurgents at Garo hills, apprehended that there had been a definite movement of ULFA cadres from Assam.

UNI

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