Five NSCN-IM separatists killed by rival rebels in Nagaland | india | Hindustan Times
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Five NSCN-IM separatists killed by rival rebels in Nagaland

Five separatists of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) were killed by suspected members of a rival tribal group in Nagaland.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2007 18:05 IST

Five separatists of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) were killed by suspected members of a rival tribal group in Nagaland, the latest in a violent gang war between two ethnic groups in the northeast.

A police spokesman said the bullet-riddled bodies of the five NSCN-IM members were found Sunday by the side of a river close to Jotsoma, about 30 km away from Kohima.

"The dead include P.K. Stone, who is the priest of the NSCN-IM's headquarters at Camp Hebron, and his wife Mariela. The other three were NSCN-IM cadres," a police official told IANS.

Police blamed the killings on the outlawed Kuki Liberation Army (KLA), a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland for the minority Kuki tribe in the adjoining state of Manipur.

"Probably the KLA militants followed the vehicle carrying the five NSCN-IM members from Kohima and attacked them in an isolated area," the official said. Several empty cartridges of pistols and rifles were found from the spot.

The attack is seen as a retaliation to the killing of 10 KLA cadres by the NSCN-IM Sep 3 at Tangkhul Hundung village in Manipur's Ukhrul district, about 70 km from state capital Imphal.

The NSCN-IM claimed responsibility for the attack on the KLA saying they were "anti-socials".

The NSCN-IM is a rebel group fighting for a tribal Naga homeland in Nagaland state with cadres of the outfit also located in the hill district of Ukhrul. The group is operating a ceasefire with New Delhi since 1997 and holding peace talks.

The NSCN-IM and the KLA are engaged in a bitter fratricidal clash for territorial supremacy in the area since long with an estimated 500 people of the two tribes killed in gunfights in the past decade.