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New outfit raises head in Arunachal

Group formed in January to strengthen 'army'

By Rishu Kalantri in Tinsukia
  • Published 28.04.17

Tinsukia, April 27: Reports of a little-known outfit, openly indulging in extortion in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, have emerged amid the National Investigation Agency crackdown on Nagaland government officials allegedly involved in extortion on behalf of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang).

The Eastern Naga National Government (ENNG) was formed by R. Stephen Naga to strengthen the "Naga army" in eastern Nagaland to have a separate political entity and build up alliances with armed groups of Myanmar.

The outfit was formed in January last year and was neither on the banned list of rebel outfits nor in ceasefire with the Centre.

Talking to The Telegraph, a senior officer in the agency said, "In the last year, the new outfit has already served over two dozen extortion notes, mostly to contractors working in Arunachal Pradesh, demanding 3 per cent of the total order value as extortion money."

The NIA yesterday arrested three senior officials of the Nagaland government for their role in largescale extortion and illegal tax collection on behalf of the NSCN(K) from various government organisations.

"The outfit usually gives a 15-day ultimatum to pay the extortion amount and provides a mobile number to be contacted for confirmation," the officer said.

He rubbished the claims of the president of the outfit, R. Stephen Naga, two-time MLA candidate from Arunachal's Nampong constituency, that the group was established for the cause of the Nagas.

Another intelligence source said disturbing reports have come in about a group of 20 cadres having rejoined the group after a four-month "weapons training" at the second brigade of the Kachin Independence Army.

The group is now somewhere in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

"The NSCN (I-M) is the brain behind this outfit to destabilise the NSCN (Khaplang), which largely dominates the three districts of Changlang, Tirap and Longding in Arunachal Pradesh, a gateway to Myanmar through the dense jungles. Several cadres of the NSCN (K) have joined the outfit. A lot of internal clashes are expected because of the defection," the source said.

"If the government does not check the group (ENGG), it will only compound the vulnerable situation in the area."

There are already four militant outfits operating in the Northeast - National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muviah), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Reformation), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NK) - operating from Nagaland to the three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, namely, Changlang, Tirap and Longding district and parts of Tinsukia and Sivasagar districts in Assam.

The NSCN (K) walked away from the ceasefire in 2015 and since then has carried out several attacks on security personnel.

Sources said the new outfit has already spread its tentacles to the three districts.

The Changlang-Tirap-Longding area is heavily infested with militants with reports of extortion, kidnapping and attacks on security forces. The NSCN (K) has made inroads into Tinsukia district.