6 cadres from NSCN talks group killed
Six National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) cadres, mostly from Nagaland, were killed in an encounter on Saturday morning at Longding in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.
Heavily armed and fortified with food supplies, they were allegedly part of a group that intended to “either kidnap influential people for ransom or carry out a big attack on security personnel”, Arunachal Pradesh director-general of police R.P. Upadhyaya said.
The encounter took place at a time the NSCN(I-M) is in ceasefire with the Centre in Nagaland where a controversy is raging about alleged extortion attempts. The government interlocutor who signed the 2015 Framework Agreement with the group, R.N. Ravi, is now the Nagaland governor. The Neiphiu Rio-led NDPP government in the state is an ally of the BJP and there are five BJP ministers.
The Arunachal Pradesh DGP told The Telegraph that the cadres were linked to a group involved in the killing of Khonsa MLA Tirong Aboh and 10 others in May 2019.
The group carried over 800 rounds of ammunition, about 40kg of rice and nearly 30 eggs.
Upadhyaya said nearly 200 army, Assam Rifles and Arunachal Pradesh police personnel were involved in the three-hour encounter in Longding district’s Nnignu village, close to Mon district in Nagaland.
On April 1, the home ministry had extended the “disturbed areas” tag under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for militant-infested Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh for another six months along with areas under four police stations in three other districts. This law gives security forces powers to arrest anyone and search premises without a warrant.
It takes about 12 hours by road to reach Wakka in Longding district from capital Itanagar. From Wakka, it takes three hours, including an hour’s trek, to reach Nnignu. “We had information about an eight-member NSCN (I-M) group entering Longding with big plans. We managed to neutralise six of them. An Assam Rifles personnel was also injured but he is stable,” the DGP said.
There are between 300 to 400 cadres of various NSCN factions in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts bordering Nagaland and Myanmar.