The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NSCN-IM bait for rival leader

Kohima, Jan. 9: A day after condemning Myanmar’s offensive against the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) to raise hopes of a reunification, the Isak-Muivah faction negated the move by admitting it was trying to convince one of the top leaders of the rival camp to join its ranks.

The NSCN (I-M) said the ato kilonser (prime minister) of the Khaplang group could switch allegiance soon. “We have sent feelers to Kitovi Zhimomi to join the organisation and his response has been positive,” deputy kilonser of information and publicity Karaibo Chawang said.

He claimed the NSCN (I-M) had offered its hand in friendship to NSCN (K) chairman S.S. Khaplang, too, but the gesture was not reciprocated. “He is adamant about certain things.”

The NSCN split in 1988 and both factions have been involved in several bloody battles over the years.

An intelligence agency said recently that Kitovi was planning to shift to the NSCN (I-M) because of differences with Khaplang. However, NSCN (K) leader Ngaimong told The Telegraph over phone from a hideout in Myanmar that the relationship between the two top leaders of the organisation was “fine”.

Chawang said the NSCN (I-M) was convinced the “reconciliation process” would gain momentum if Kitovi was on its side. Some NSCN (K) leaders from Mon and Tuensang districts crossed over last year.

A source said the Khaplang group lost over 150 members to its rival in the past two months. The exodus began after a public backlash against the NSCN (K) in Mokokchung town on August 24.

Mobs had attacked the militant group’s office there after its members mistakenly killed a college student. Most of the militant leaders who had been staying in the town since the ceasefire took effect fled to Myanmar and Tuensang and Mon districts.

The NSCN (I-M) said some people were now extorting money from individuals and organisations in Dimapur in the NSCN (K)’s name and sharing the booty with the outfit.

The “deputy secretary” in the NSCN (I-M)’s information and publicity wing, Akaho A. Sumi, said his organisation was concerned over the development and would not tolerate anybody extorting money from private nursing homes and schools.

The NSCN (I-M) exempted private nursing homes and schools from paying “tax” in consideration of their “genuine difficulties”.

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