Militants of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army GNLA on Thursday abducted nine traders in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region police said.

The traders from South Salmara area under Assam’s Mancachar district were kidnapped by suspected GNLA militants from Songotagre village near Chokpot in South Garo Hills Anand Mishra the district police of South Garo Hills said.

Police said the traders were proceeding towards Silkigre weekly market in South Garo hills in a Mahindra pickup vehicle when armed militants abducted the traders at gunpoint.

quot;The search operation is on to rescue the tradersquot; Mishra said.

Meghalaya’s Special Weapons and Tactics SWAT commandos have been pressed into service to trace the hostages.

GNLA has been fighting for a separate Garoland in five impoverished districts of Garo Hills in western Meghalaya.