Sohan D Shira, Meghalaya’s most wanted militant leading the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), was killed in an encounter by state police commandos on Saturday, three days short of voting day in the hill state. A police officer in Shillong said Shira was tracked down at Achakpek, 120 km from Tura, the most important town in the Garo Hills, early Saturday morning by commandos of the Special Force 10 (SF-10), and shot after a gunbattle between the two sides that lasted about two hours.
Shira (45) carried an award of Rs 10 lakh on his head, and is believed to have masterminded an ambush one week ago in which Jonathone N Sangma, the NCP candidate for Williamnagar LAC and three others were killed near Samanda in East Garo Hills district. The police also recovered an assault rifle and live ammunition from the encounter site.
A former “area commander” of the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), which later signed a peace accord with both the governments, Shira had surrendered in 2007 only to return to the jungles two years later to form the Garo National Liberation Army with Pachkara R Sangma @ Champion R Sangma, a DySP of the Meghalaya Police.