The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naga claim of Myanmar raid

Guwahati, Jan. 4: Two days after the Indian Army chief hinted at joint military exercises with Myanmar, a senior NSCN(K) leader said that several of the group’s camps have come under the attack of the Myanmarese army.

The Myanmarese army is now advancing towards the NSCN(K)’s council headquarters in Sagaing division.

The outfit’s home secretary, Ngaimong, told The Telegraph over a satellite phone from one of its base camps in the Patkai hill range of Myanmar bordering Arunachal Pradesh that a large platoon of the Myanmarese army from its 7th battalion was advancing towards the outfit’s headquarters at the Tenup Tephak Joku Valley.

He said the outfit’s leader, S.S. Khaplang, was now camping at the base.

Ngaimong described the attacks was sporadic and claimed that there as no casualty on his side till this evening. “So far, we have managed to push back the advancing army on several occasions and we are prepared to do the same if they attack our council headquarters,” he said.

The rebel leader claimed the military activity against the group has been intensified at the behest of the Indian Army after the visit of Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to Yangon in the first week of November.

Shekhawat had two rounds of talks with General Than Shwe and Vice-Senior General Muang Aye during his five-day visit to Myanmar which started on November 2. During the Vice-President’s visit, the Myanmar government had assured him that it would not allow any anti-India activities to be carried out from its soil.

On Friday, army chief .C. Vij had hinted at joint military exercises with Myanmar which could be the first step towards a joint offensive against Northeast rebel groups based in the neighbouring country.

Vij also said in Guwahati that the Indian Army was imparting training to Myanmarese troops of late.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has been making a strong case for “similar action like Bhutan” in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Following the discussions between Shekhawat and the junta, Yangon was also expanding its administrative base over the vast stretch of areas in Sagaing and Kachin province. India shares 1,640 km of border, mostly unguarded, with Myanmar.

The NSCN(K) alleged that the junta was using Naga civilians as human shields. Ngaimong said the outfit has 20-odd camps, including its general headquarters and council headquarters, in Myanmar. The outfit also shelters and trains other northeastern groups in the bases.

The NSCN(K) leader claimed that Ulfa and other militant outfits whose camps have been razed in Bhutan were not taking shelter in Myanmar or Arunachal Pradesh.

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