A major IED attack was averted by security forces on Thursday who seized and diffused at least 47 of them from several link roads to villages in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district.

IG (Operations) G H P Raju said the IEDs were seized when an operation involving the special commandos of the state police was launched following inputs by villagers of Doengkhugre and adjoining areas of the district about the presence of strange and suspicious looking objects.

Raju said the IEDs were hidden at the roadsides, with only their wires visible overground.

They were handmade and assembled by GNLA cadres with the help of ULFA(I) under Dristi Rajkhowa. The bombs had adequate explosive powers and could have caused serious damage if they had exploded, he said, adding they were later diffused.

Thursday’s recovery has been the biggest explosives haul made by the state police in the Garo Hills region, the IG added.

Earlier in the day, the self-styled deputy commander-in-chief of Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) identified as Rupanto had a narrow escape during an encounter with the police in Durama hills range where the villages were located, Raju said.

There was a brief exchange of fire with GNLA militants during the encounter following which they fled, he said.

Operation is now on to sanitise the area and check the presence of IEDs in the adjoining villages, he added.