Liberation of Achik Elite Force(LAEF)
The Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF) is a Garo militant outfit that was formed sometime in 2005.
In an appeal in the first week of October 2006, the LAEF outlined the reasons of its existence: "LAEF stands to fight for a separate Achik state after studying the scenario of the State. It is learnt that the citizens of our land have been ill-treated and discriminated in every field – socially, politically and economically by the Khasis and Jaintias of Meghalaya making our people lag behind in the development process." It also appealed to the Achik (Garo) people "to co-operate and join hands to fight for a peaceful movement for an independent separate Achik State."
Leadership and Cadre
Darong Marak is reportedly the present chief of LAEF. He is believed to have taken over the reins of the outfit after his brother Peter Marak was killed. Darong is the main trainer and ‘finance secretary’ of the outfit. Peter Marak was a former Meghalaya Police commando. Marak was posted as constable in the Garo Hills during the latter part of the 1990s, and subsequently unsuccessfully contested the by-election for Meghalaya Legislative Assembly from the Songsak constituency as an independent candidate.
Remsu Rema alias Chingkam is the ‘chairman’ of the outfit.
Chingkam Marak serves as the 'Convenor cum Publicity Secretary' of the LAEF.
The outfit, consisting of approximately 135 cadres, also has an unspecified number of ‘secretaries’.
According to police sources, the outfit has 12 AK assault rifles and other small arms.
Area of Operation
The outfit operates in the East Garo Hills district, South Garo Hills district, Ri Bhoi district and East Khasi Hills district. The outfit’s presence has also been reported from the Goalpara district of Assam.
Police revealed that as many as 50 well armed and trained LAEF militants operate from the Garo Hills forests, according to Assam Tribune.
According to a September 5, 2007-report, the LAEF is trying to regroup in the Garo Hills with the help of some other militant outfits, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM). Police sources said some of its cadres had fled to Dimapur in Nagaland and were in constant touch with the NSCN-IM leaders. Shortly after his arrest from Jorabhat, the LAEF chief Peter Marak was interrogated and as per his statement, the NSCN-IM had provided the LAEF with as many as 15 AK-47s, 25 automatic M20 pistols and three highly powerful Universal Machine Guns besides over a hundred hand grenades, Assam Tribune reported on August 23, 2007. He also claimed that all the armaments were paid for by his outfit.
A June 22, 2007-report stated that the outfit has established a link with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland –Khaplang (NSCN-K).
Assam Tribune reported on August 23, 2007, that "the LAEF has since its inception in 2005 been rumoured to be patronised by members of a prominent political party from Meghalaya."