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Kuki group in gun-running

Guwahati, Dec. 15: The police today claimed that they have evidence that the United Kukigram Defence Army (UKDA) is supplying sophisticated foreign-made weapons to militant groups and criminals.

The Karbi Anglong-based Kuki militant group had declared a unilateral ceasefire in January this year.

Karbi Anglong additional superintendent of police Bolin Deori, today told The Telegraph that arrest of UKDA linkman Khupkhan Siam last Friday had blown the lid off the operation. The police recovered one sophisticated German-made G-3 assault rifle and two grenades from him.

Siam, 48, is a relative of UKDA chairman Peter Haokip and has revealed that the outfit is not only smuggling arms into the Northeast from Myanmar, but also selling them to other groups and criminals.

This piece of information and recovery of the Heckler and Koch G-3 rifle has set alarm bells ringing in security establishments.

Last Friday, a team from Dilai police station arrested Siam and his accomplice Thanglun Zou, 24, from Lahorijan weekly market and recovered the arms from the Maruti Swift (bearing registration number NL-07 3334) in which they were travelling.

The additional superintendent of police said the rifle was found in the boot of the car while the grenades were hidden in the doorframe of the vehicle. Police also recovered Rs 40,000 cash from them.

Deori said the car belonged to Siam and both the accused hail from the Burma Camp area in Dimapur.

“Our investigations and questioning of the accused persons have revealed that the arms were given to them by the UKDA chairman,” Deori said.

He said the UKDA chairman had given the rifle and the grenades to two civilians somewhere near the outfit’s designated camp at Saijong village and the civilians handed over the arms to Siam at Naharjan.

“Peter Haokip had given the arms to Siam to sell it for Rs 2 lakh,” Deori said.

He said Siam is not only a UKDA conduit but also a notorious arms smuggler.

“According to our information, Siam was involved in large-scale smuggling of sophisticated, foreign-made arms and ammunition from Myanmar for the UKDA and others,” he said.

Deori said Siam procures the arms with the help of some people of the Kuki tribe living in Myanmar, and then crosses the international border in the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur and Chandel districts to Manipur. Subsequently, he brings these arms to Karbi Anglong.

Siam is believed to be have smuggled foreign-made weap-ons like US-made M20 rifles, German G-3 rifles and Chinese-made AK-series rifles, from Myanmar several times.

These weapons are mainly sourced from illegal arms market in China and some other Southeast Asian countries and then smuggled through the porous Myanmar border.