After it abrogated the 14-year-old ceasefire with the Centre, NSCN(K) led by S S Khaplang had threatened of targeting security forces a day before it ambushed eight soldiers in Nagaland’s Mon district.
The bodies of the eight security personnel— seven from the Assam Rifles and one from Territorial Army — killed in Sunday’s ambush were sent to their respective homes in different states on Monday. Five of the nine others who were injured were shifted to Jorhat in Assam for better treatment.
Those killed in the ambush have been identified as Warrant Officer Kamjang Kuki and Rifleman L Haokip from Manipur, Rifleman Biswa Sonowal from Assam, Rifleman Sanjivan S from Kerala, Rifleman J Debbarma from Tripura, Rifleman Jerusalem Thara from Mizoram, Rifleman Tanik Lal Patel from Bihar and Naik Khantin Mo from Nagaland.
The NSCN(K), which had on March 27 pulled out of the ceasefire with the Centre signed on November 14 1998, had Saturday said it would “fight to the last remaining man and will never be cowed down by threat of collaborators and traitors.”
A press note issued by the outfit had also expressed its determination to “uphold and carry on the struggle regardless of persistent anti-Naga and anti-NSCN campaigns launched by Naga collaborators and Indian agencies after entering into ceasefire with India.”
The outfit had also said 14 years of ceasefire with the government had not helped resolve the long overdue Naga political issue. The government had failed to even express any inclination to discuss and resolve the Naga conflict, it had complained.
The outfit had described the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and National Security Act (NSA) as “draconian enactment”. It had also hit out at Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation, a Naga civil society organisation that has asked people not to pay “taxes” to various underground groups, including the NSCN(K).
Official sources in security forces in Kohima said the NSCN(K), whose chairman S S Khaplang last year signed a peace truce with the Myanmar Army, had become weaker following the expulsion of senior leaders Wangtin Naga and P Tikhak for allegedly toeing the Indian government’s line.
Security forces put the strength of NSCN(K) at around 2,000 men. This also comprises a sizeable number of cadres from Naga tribes from Myanmar.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang is also a member of the newly-floated United National Liberation Front of West South-east Asia which has Khaplang as its chief. Other groups on the platform include the ULFA (Paresh Barua faction), Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, People’s Liberation Army, United National Liberation Front and NDFB(S).