TURA/SHILLONG: Garo National Liberation Army ( GNLA ) militants ambushed a police convoy in remote South Garo Hills district on Tuesday afternoon triggering an IED blast in Rewak area of Siju which killed two police personnel and injured three others.

The incident took place at approximately 12:31 midday when the two police vehicles, an armoured plated bullet proof truck and a mini truck, each laden with six armed personnel were heading from district headquarters Baghmara to remote Siju to reinforce police deployment at the outpost.

The militants, who are believed to be hiding in the thick forest, targeted the police convoy on a non-metallic stretch of the road, 3 kms before reaching Siju.

They triggered the improvised explosive device just as the mini truck carrying six armed personnel were passing through the stretch.

The blast ripped through the front portion of the mini truck sending shrapnel all around and two police personnel, Havildar Aldrin Lyngdoh of 3rd MLP Battalion and armed branch constable Aitom A Sangma of South Garo Hills district executive force (DEF) who happened to be seated in the front seat were killed in the IED blast.

The driver of the mini truck, driver-fireman Medison Sangma, constable Betherson M Sangma of DEF and 3rd MLP Battalion constable Brething K Sangma sustained shrapnel injuries and were rushed to Tura civil hospital, 140 kms away, for urgent medical treatment.

“The explosion that was triggered hit the front portion of the mini truck and havildar Aldrin and constable Aitom who were seated in front bore the brunt of the impact. The IED was planted on the left side of the road,” revealed district police chief Lakador Syiem while speaking to The Shillong Times from Baghmara on Tuesday evening.

“It is a handiwork of the banned GNLA,” said Syiem.

The twelve member armed personnel were heading to Siju outpost ostensibly to reinforce the defences when they came under attack .

The GNLA had recently made public their plans to target police personnel and officers in retaliation for the Meghalaya government’s alleged refusal to accept their peace talks’ proposal.

The group is known to dominate the area which is extensively surrounded by mountains and deep jungles with limited human population.

According to the police chief, a total of 12 armed police personnel were travelling in the two vehicles headed for Siju outpost when the attack took place, 3 kms before arrival.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has condemned the incident saying that the police have set its own timelines to neutralise the militants of various splinter groups in Garo Hills. “We have set our own internal timelines of neutralizing of the militants in Garo Hills. But this cannot be divulged,” Chief Minister said on Tuesday.

According to him, the Government has directed the police to take all possible steps to neutralize the militant groups so as to bring normalcy back in the Garo Hills region.