At least one suspected National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN-IM) cadre was killed in a shootout on Thursday with cadres of Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) Khoupum sub-division under Noney district of Manipur.
According to official sources, the incident occurred around 11:20 am in between Taosang and Lubanglong village under Khoupum police station.
The exchange of fire reportedly lasted for about half an hour resulting in the death of a cadre of the NSCN-IM. Police have retrieved the body of the deceased militant from the encounter site.
The deceased is believed to be one Abam Zeme from North Cachar Hills, Assam, a self-proclaimed corporal of the NSCN-IM.
On November 18 evening, similar exchange of fire had taken place between the two outfits in Toudaijang village of Khoupum area wherein two suspected cadres of the NSCN-IM was reportedly injured.
The ZUF is a breakaway group of the NSCN-IM formed in 2011 with the objective to protect the natural resources, land and people besides promoting fraternity and to preserve the unity and integrity of Zeliangrong communities and its sub-tribes.
The ZUF, who is yet to be under a cease-fire agreement with the Government, is very active in Noney and Tamenglong districts of Manipur, Naga-dominated districts.
As the ZUF’s objective, which is to demand a separate state for the Zeliangrong, comes as a stark contrast with the Naga integration of the NSCN-IM under peace talks with Government of India, the two groups continue to engage in bloodshed.
“We stand to protect our land, resources and unity of Zeliangrong people and anyone who stands in our way will be dealt with stringently. We are ready to give up our lives for the cause of our people”, said AB. Gangmei of the publicity wing of ZUF in a statement.