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,” it said.
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.