An army officer and three militants were killed in an encounter in Mon district of Nagaland, bordering Myanmar, late on Tuesday. The militants reportedly belonged to a combined group of NSCN(K) and ULFA(I). A civilian was also killed in the exchange of fire. Unofficial sources said two of the three militants killed in the encounter belonged to the anti-talk faction of the ULFA led by Paresh Barua, while the third belonged to the NSCN(K).
The officer who died has been identified as Major David Manlun of the 164 Battalion of the Territorial Army. His body has been sent to Shillong for the last rites.
Three Army personnel who sustained serious injuries have been evacuated to Jorhat.
“The incident took place when a team of jawans led by Major David Manlun had gone to Lappa, a remote area close to the Myanmar border, with specific information about the presence of a group of NSCN(K) and ULFA(I) militants there. The militants lobbed a grenade and fired at the Army personnel, leading to the death of the Major. The identity of the three militants who were eliminated is yet to be ascertained,” Colonel Chiranjeet Konwer, Kohima-based Defence PRO, told The Indian Express. “Mon district is known for the presence and movement of NSCN(K) and ULFA(I) militants,” he said. Lappa, which is in Mon, is about 300 kms from Kohima.
The Army claimed to have recovered an AK-56, two Chinese-made AK-series rifles, two grenades, three improvised explosive devices and 270 rounds of AK-series ammunition, apart from a stock of medicine and other items, from the militants.
The NSCN(K), which pulled out of the ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in April 2015, has been active in Mon and three districts of Arunachal Pradesh — Longding, Tirap and Changlang — after floating a new platform called the United Liberation Front of Western South-East Asia (ULFWSA).
While NSCN(K) chairman S S Khaplang is also chairman of this platform, the other outfits that are part of it include the Paresh Barua faction of ULFA, Kangleipak Communist Party, Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, People’s Liberation Army, United National Liberation Front and NDFB(S).
The combined group has carried out a series of attacks on security forces in the past couple of years, the worst being the death of 18 jawans in Chandel district in Manipur in June 2015. Two security personnel were killed in an ambush near Jagun on the Assam-Arunachal border in January this year.