The crackdown on rebels in Manipur following the June 4 ambush on an army convoy has seen the state police arrest the leader of the “wrong” Naga rebel group. The alleged goof-up was the second in less than a week.
A statement issued by the Manipur Police last week said three rebels including two of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) were arrested after the ambush in which 18 soldiers were killed. The third, 22-year-old Md Zahed Ali, belonged to Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) that assisted NSCN-K in the ambush.
The NSCN-K functionaries were identified as Khumloi Abi Anal alias Ambison, 40, chairman of the Amamcht region (Chandel district where the ambush happened) and Panmei Kalingong, 31.
Last Saturday, a communiqué from the NSCN-Reformation (NSCN-R) implied the police erred in arresting the wrong rebel from the wrong group. “Ambison is the chairman of the Amamcht region of NSCN-R and not a member of NSCN-K,” it said.
It added Ambison had merged his region with the NSCN-R group led by Wangtin Naga and P Tikhak who left NSCN-K after falling out with the Myanmar-based SS Khaplang earlier this year. “The information related to the merger got delayed, which seem to have given undue advantage to the security forces.
The group’s statement further said: “NSCN-R is under ceasefire with the government of India, and is not involved in any violent activity.”
On June 7, the National Investigation Agency and Manipur Police made a faux pax by registering a case against Kugnalu Mulatonu and Alezo Venuh Chakhesang for the June 4 ambush.
The two are senior leaders of the NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) that had broken away from NSCN-K a few years ago. The Khole-Kitovi group was recognised by the ministry of home affairs as a separate group under the ceasefire ambit.