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Meghalaya: Ex-HNLC militant leader killed in police raid

Police officials said a combined team of East Jaintia Hills district police and East Khasi Hills district police raided the house of Thangkhiew around 3 am on Friday at Mawlai Kynton Massar in connection with the recent blasts in the state.

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Shillong: Surrendered Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) founding member, Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, died in the early hours on Friday after a Special Operation Team of the Meghalaya Police fired at him in self-defence during a search operation at his house within the city limits.

Police officials said a combined team of East Jaintia Hills district police and East Khasi Hills district police raided the house of Thangkhiew around 3 am on Friday at Mawlai Kynton Massar in connection with the recent blasts in the state.

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The early morning raid was conducted based on specific inputs that the former HNLC leader was “instrumental” in the IED blast at Khliehriat police reserve in East Jaintia Hills district on July 14 last and in the Laitumkhrah market area on Tuesday where two persons sustained minor injuries.

In fact, Meghalaya police have arrested several persons in connection with both the blasts and from their statements and material evidence collected there were clear indications linking the involvement of Thangkhiew in both the bomb attacks.

“The incident occurred when police officials and SOT tried to enter his house to conduct a search, Thangkhiew attacked one of the SOT personnel with a knife. In self-defence, the SOT personnel fired at him,” Director General of Police R Chandranathan told UNI.

Thangkhiew was rushed to Civil Hospital for immediate medical treatment but the doctor who attended him declared him brought dead,” he said, adding that two persons have been detained for questioning.
During the search, police recovered one 9 mm pistol, a number of mobile phones and a laptop from Thangkhiew’s house.

Police officials, who are investigating the recent IED blasts claimed to have “credible evidence” on Thangkhiew’s involvement in both the IED blasts, which the HNLC General Secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw had claimed that the outfit had triggered.

“We have enough evidence to prove his involvement and we have zeroed in on his other associates,” a police official said on condition of anonymity.

Thangkhiew, who was the self-styled general secretary of the outlawed HNLC, had surrendered before Meghalaya Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong at Police Headquarters, Shillong in October 2018.

He was known as one of the most dreaded militant leaders of the state and was the founding leader of the HNLC.

Thangkhiew was also instrumental in setting up more than six training camps of the outfit in Sylhet and Maulavibazar in Bangladesh.
Thangkhiew was hiding in Bangladesh after he along with Bobby Reagan Marwein, Dilash Marak and Jerome Cherian Momin of the A’chik Liberation Matgrik Army (ALMA) and two cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak Muivah faction escaped from Shillong Jail in 1995.

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