LAEF militants serve extortion notes to govt officials

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Shillong, Dec 19 (UNI) The Liberation A'chik Elite Force (LAEF) has served extortion notes to government officials based in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, police said here today.

The LAEF, a relatively new militant outfit, is believed to have close links with the NSCN (I-M) and is fighting for a separate independent A'chik state for the tribal Garos residing in Garo Hills.

Both the groups were involved in extorting money from coal mine owners in Nangalbibra and coal exporters in the Gasuapara area bordering Bangladesh.

''Now, the LAEF is even serving extortion notes, ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 to government officials in the district,'' South Garo Hills District Superintendent of Police (SP) H Toi told UNI here today.

The SP, however, claimed that the police had managed to contain the militant activities with the arrest of a suspected LAEF militant Sukar Momin alias Sulu Ralo and two government employees - Bainstan Momin alias Bes and Tarius Sangma - alleged to be the LAEF's linkmen yesterday from Baghmara.

Police also seized a country-made revolver and extortion notes from Sukar Momin's possession, he added.

''The job of these linkmen was to serve extortion notes to the targets specified by the militants, collect the money and hand it over to the LAEF,'' the police official said.

Earlier, the NSCN-IM had provided the LAEF with as many as 15 AK-47s, 25 automatic M20 pistols and three highly powerful Universal Machine Guns, besides over a hundred hand grenades to carry out their operations in Garo Hills, the SP said.

The nascent militant outfit has set up its operational camp inside the Balpakram National Park, with the help of the NSCN (I-M), to train new LAEF recruits.

The Meghalaya Police launched operations in the entire park but could not make much progress owing to the hostile topographical conditions.

UNI

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