A top leader of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K), the militant outfit suspected to be involved in an ambush on an Army convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district on June 4 in which 18 soldiers were killed, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from the state on Monday.
Khumlo Abi Anal alias Ambison, a senior functionary and the ‘regional chairman’ of NSCN (K) in Chandel district, is being brought to Delhi on a transit remand, said NIA officers. This is the first arrest by the NIA in its probe into the ambush in Manipur.
According to the NIA, Ambison “was extensively involved in the conspiracy to attack the army personnel, and had met with the offenders immediately before the attack. He was also in touch with the offenders before and after the attack.”
Ambison, a key leader of the NSCN (K), can throw light on the identities of the attackers who actually carried out the ambush, said sources in the NIA. Investigations had indicated that 23 NSCN (K) members had carried out the ambush, said sources. While two NSCN (K) members were killed in the attack, the NIA has identified 14 of the other NSCN (K) members who carried out the attack, sources added.
“Following the attack, Ambison had moved out of the country, and it appears that he had slipped into Myanmar before returning to India later,” said an NIA source.
On an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), dated June 6, the NIA’s Guwahati unit had taken over the probe into the ambush. The NIA re-registered the case under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to murder, attempted murder, criminal conspiracy and waging war against the Government of India, as well as sections of the Arms Act, 1959, Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The case was earlier registered by the Tengnoupal police station of Chandel district on the day of the attack.
According to the NIA, the attack, representing an act of waging war against the Government of India, was executed by armed formations belonging to the NSCN (K) and its affiliates active in the Northeast and along the Indo-Myanmar border region. The conspiracy behind the attack is suspected to have been hatched by the top leadership of the NSCN (K).