India is drawing up a blueprint in coordination with Yangon to uproot 45-50 camps of Northeast militants from the Kachin area of Myanmar. Some 30 of these camps are major set-ups, three of them belonging to the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) each housing 150-300 cadres.
The development follows the visit to Yangon of a high-level delegation of the Ministry of Home Affairs last month.
The Myanmar camps – a majority of them belong to Khaplang and Isak-Muivah factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland besides Manipuri outfits such as United National Liberation Front – are concentrated in Shwelo and Haukyat areas of Myanmar adjoining Mon district of Nagaland.
These militant groups and Ulfa are also maintaining up to 45-60 camps in Bangladesh despite Dhaka’s recent crackdown that led to the arrest of Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and others last year. “Most of the Bangladesh camps have over the years converted into villages, but even the presence of four-five militants count as a camp for us,” said Lt Gen NK Singh, GOC of the army’s Spears or 3 Corps headquartered in Dimapur.
Singh was briefing a select group of mediapersons ahead of 3 Corps’ silver jubilee celebrations here on Wednesday. It was raised on February 4, 1985 to combat insurgency in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya.
“A coordinated operation should take place to remove and eliminate camps in Myanmar. Things are at the decision and planning stage following the MHA visit to that country,” said Singh, adding the forces were awaiting the green signal from Yangon.
A list of such camps was being drawn up to track down Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua and other militant leaders in Myanmar. According to Intelligence officers, Barua has been shuttling between guerrilla-controlled Myanmar and Bangladesh and Southeast Asian countries to hold the reins of a ‘fast-depleting’ Ulfa.
Assam Police officials also said the possibility of Barua spending much of his subversion-scheming time in Myanmar was strong. Apart from Ulfa general secretary Golap Barua alias Anup Chetia, who is under the court’s observation in Dhaka, Barua is the only top leader at large.
Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua were arrested in December last year after they tried to sneak in from Bangladesh. The outfit’s foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury and finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika had a similar fate the month before. Other senior leaders were either ‘neutralised’ or caught earlier.