Itanagar, March 15: Three militants were killed in clashes between the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), over the past two days in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The superintendent of police of Tirap district, Anil Kumar Shukla, today said fratricidal clashes between the two NSCN factions over the past two days resulted in the killing of two cadres of the Isak-Muivah faction and one of the Khaplang faction.
“A heavily armed group of NSCN (K) sneaked into Thinsa village where its rival, the NSCN (I-M), was holding a meeting to launch an offensive against the former group and sprayed bullets on self-styled major M. Kipo killing him and injuring some other cadres on Friday night. In the exchange of fire, one cadre of the Khaplang faction was also killed. The NSCN (K) also threatened the villagers with dire consequences if they continued to shelter and support the NSCN (I-M) cadres,” Shukla said from district headquarters Khonsa.
“Traditionally, Tirap district is a bastion of the NSCN (I-M). The Khaplang faction has a strong presence in Changlang district but it has been making efforts to establish its supremacy in Tirap district,” he said.
He said the police had information that the two groups were on a recruitment drive for the past few months but this was the first report of a killing after December.
Another police source in Tirap said skirmishes for dominance between the two factions took place in Muktowa, Longliang and Lanchen on Friday.
A middle-aged man who owed allegiance to the NSCN (I-M) was gunned down by the NSCN (K) rebels in Longliang.
A police team led by assistant superintendent of police, Ajay Kumar Ojha, visited the spot and registered a case with Khonsa police station.
Despite the deployment of 3 Dogra Regiment of the army and 19 Assam Rifles in Tirap district, the movements of two rebel factions have not slowed down adding to security concerns of the local people, who are caught in the turf war between the two factions.
Both Tirap and Changlang districts have witnessed insurgency in the form of a spillover from Nagaland since 1990.
The 70km porous border with Myanmar also provides safe passage for the rebels.
A state-level core group under the guidelines of the ministry of home affairs to co-ordinate between the administration, army and other intelligence agencies to flush out militants operating in the state was formed in December but the security forces were unable to check the insurgency.
Ulfa and the Khaplang faction of the NSCN are reportedly holding joint training sessions in the hilly interiors of Tirap district in their desperation to win the “turf war” over the NSCN (I-M).