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Exodus blow to Khaplang camp

Kohima, May 11: Less than a year after its leaders from Ao-dominated Mokokchung defected to the Isak-Muivah group, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) today found itself further marginalised after its Chang region unit shifted allegiance en bloc to the rival camp.

Sources said NSCN (K) members from the Chang tribe formally joined the Isak-Muivah faction at a reconciliation meeting in Tuensang village. The outfit’s deputy kilonser (minister), Kughalo Mulatonu, got a scare around 4 pm yesterday when bullets fired by suspected NSCN (I-M) members narrowly missed him at Ambolo colony in Zunheboto town.

Mulatonu, accompanied by two senior members of the group, had just reached the town for a Ceasefire Supervisory Board meeting this morning. Police reported a “grenade-like” blast, too, but nobody was injured in the incident.

Ceasefire Supervisory Board chairman Lt Gen. R.V. Kulkarni and government officials attended the meeting.

The panel had last met in August, a few days before a public backlash forced the NSCN (K) out of Mokokchung town.

The group asked for a ceasefire supervisory cell in Zunheboto, sources said. Lt Gen. Kulkarni insisted that its members confine themselves to their designated camps.

The NSCN split into two in 1988 and both factions have since suffered hundreds of casualties in the battle for supremacy. The two groups have separate ceasefire agreements with Delhi.

The so-called reconciliation programme during which Chang members of the NSCN (K) formally defected to the rival group was organised under the aegis of the Chang Khulei Setshang (Chang People’s Organisation). The defectors include B. Moba Chang, who was the chairman of the Khaplang group’s Chang region, and H.Y. Chingmak, a deputy kilonser.

The Isak-Muivah group has been saying that it will take “smaller groups” into its fold in accordance with its policy of reconciliation, which seems to have assumed a new meaning now.

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