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5 more killed in NSCN-IM, KLA clash
K Anurag in Guwahati | September 10, 2007 18:06 IST
Five more lives have been lost in the on-going bloody conflict between the Naga rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and the Kuki Liberation Army based in Manipur.
Bullet-ridden bodies of four NSCN-IM members and the wife of one of the slain cadres were found near Kohima on Sunday, according to a delayed report received in Guwahati.
Security forces suspect that the NSCN-IM cadres were killed by the KLA in retaliation for the killing of 10 KLA members by the Naga group in a clash at Tangkhul Hundubng village in Manipur on Monday.
The slain NSCN-IM members were identified as P K Stone and his wife Mairela, Nganshamkhui, Easternlite and Ahenmi.
All of them hail from the Ukhrul district of Manipur. Their bodies were found abandoned near a river about 25 km away from Kohima on Sunday.
The bodies were later identified by the members of the ceasefire monitoring group in Nagaland at the NSCN-IM headquarter Camp Hebron.
The rival NSCN (Khaplang) group has promptly denied its involvement in the killings. In a statement issued to the media, the NSCN-K stated it had stopped all operations against the NSCN-IM. This has further buttressed the suspicion over involvement of the KLA in the avenge killings.
The KLA had earlier issued a statement warning the NSCN-IM of severe reprisal for the 'treachery', bringing to the fore the uneasy co-existence between the two groups in hills of Manipur. The statement was issued in the wake of the killings of 10 KLA cadres by the NSCN-IM members.
Addy Kuki, publicity secretary of the KLA, had stated that altogether 12 cadres, including the 10 who were killed, had been staying in Tangkhul Hundung Khunou together with NSCN (IM) cadres since August 31.
He alleged that the NCSN-IM militants gunned down the KLA men all of a sudden without any warning just when the KLA men were about the leave the village.
The NSCN-IM cadres had taken away 11 weapons and large amount of ammunition, including two AK-47 Rifles, one US carbine, one G/3 rifle, one M-16 rifle, one SBBL gun, and one LMG which belonged to the slain KLA cadres.
The NSCN-IM, which is in truce agreement and engaged in peace process with the government of India, stakes claim over Naga-dominated areas in the Manipur hills as part of its greater Nagalim blueprint.
The outfit usually keeps a good rapport with Kuki tribal militant groups in Manipur while the Meitei militant groups in Manipur are stiffly opposed to NSCN-IM presence in the four hill areas of the state.