The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flushout unites Naga factions

Kohima/Dimapur, Jan. 8: The Myanmar army’s operation against the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) has led to the Isak-Muivah group coming out in support of its rival for the first time since they split.

The NSCN (I-M) today condemned the junta’s action against “our brothers”, raising hope of a reconciliation with the Khaplang faction.

Accusing the Indian army of complementing the offensive by Myanmar against the NSCN (K), the Isak-Muivah group said it could have an adverse effect on the peace process in Nagaland.

“They (functionaries of the Khaplang faction) are our brothers and these attacks on them will be bad for the peace process,” NSCN (I-M) information and publicity kilonser (minister) Karaiba Chawang said.

The militant leader warned Delhi against striking a “clandestine deal” with Bangladesh to launch a similar military operation there, saying that would negate all the gains from the peace process.

Information about the ongoing operation in the remote areas of Myanmar is scarce, but intelligence sources in Nagaland claimed two NSCN (K) members were killed in an encounter with Myanmarese forces in the Patkai range of Sagaing division.

Two days after army chief Gen. .C. Vij said a joint military exercise with Myanmar was on the cards, NSCN (K) home secretary Ngaimong told The Telegraph over phone from a hideout in that country that most of his organisation’s 20-odd camps had come under attack. He said Myanmarese troops were advancing towards the NSCN (K) council headquarters, where S.S. Khaplang is based.

The military operation against the NSCN (K) evoked negative reactions from other Naga organisations, too.

The Naga Hoho, which is the apex organisation of all Naga tribes, said one false step could take the peace process back to where it started. Its president M. Vero said use of “military might” was not the solution to the problem of militancy.

“The peace process is on and there is hope and peace all around. At this juncture, none should try to jeopardise the peace process,” the Naga Hoho chief said.

“I do not know exactly what is their (the junta) plan. But it is my appeal to the junta as well as Delhi and Thimphu to exercise restraint at this crucial juncture.”

Anticipating an exodus of Naga people from Myanmar in the event of the operation against the NSCN (K) being intensified, Vero urged the Neiphiu Rio government and the Naga community here to be prepared to help their “fleeing” brethren.

“The exodus has not begun, but it is important for everyone to be ready to help them if they come to Nagaland seeking shelter and protection,” he said.

Over a thousand Nagas had fled Myanmar in the wake of a brief offensive against the NSCN (K) in 2001. Bhutan’s recent operation against the Ulfa, the National Democratic Front of Boroland and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation sparked a similar exodus of people from the region who had settled in and around the militant camps there.

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