A new front of four Northeast rebel groups, who claim the Northeast is part of Western Southeast Asia (WESA) has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s ambush in Nagaland that
and Naga Territorial Army personnel.
“The ambush on Indian security forces in Nagaland is the first successful combined operation of the United National Liberation Front of WESEA (UNLFW),” Paresh Baruah, Untied Liberation Front of Assam-Independence (ULFA-I) chief, said in an emailed statement on Monday.
Rebel groups with the common agenda of seceding from the Indian union have often formed short-lived fronts.
The UNLFW comprises ULFA, the Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang NSCN(K), the IK Sangbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland, and the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation.
After the ambush on Sunday, security agencies in Nagaland suspected the NSCN(K) as the ambush spot — Changlangsu in Mon district — was close to the border with Myanmar where the NSCN(K) guerrillas are based. And the ceasefire with the outfit, signed in April 2001, was called off in March.
A defence spokesperson told HT from Kohima: “A team of 18 personnel from the 23rd Assam Rifles (AR) and Naga Territorial Army (NTA) had gone to fetch water on Sunday when militants blew up one of their two vehicles with an IED and then opened indiscriminate fire. Seven AR and one NTA personnel died on the spot while five others were injured. A Naga rebel was also killed in the retaliatory firing.”
He said a massive manhunt has been launched in Mon district amid reports that the assailants used the jungles to sneak into Myanmar.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said the formation of UNLFW was disconcerting. “The Nagaland ambush showed that the militants are desperate to be taken seriously,” he said.