The infighting in Naga rebel group, National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang has led to its Myanmar-based chairman S S Khaplang expelling Khole Konyak from the post of commander-in-chief of the self-styled 'Naga Army' with immediate effect.
The infighting within the NSCN-K is potent enough to affect the ongoing Naga peace process. It could also serve a major blow to the NSCN-K, which has been on a ceasefire with the government since 2001. However, it has remained on the sidelines of the peace process that revolves around rival National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah and the government of India.
A statement issued by P Tikhak, spokesperson of the NSCN-K, said that 'general' Konyak is expelled from the party for his anti-party activities. Konyak in the recent past had joint hands with the break away group led by Kitovi Zhimomi, the general secretary of the group. Konyak has been replaced by Kumchok as the commander-in-chief, Naga Army.
Kumchok will be assisted by senior commander of the Naga Army, brigadier Nyemlang Konyak, as general staff officer- I (GSO-I) and another senior army officer brigadier Ponglem as GSO-II with immediate effect.
Earlier, on June 7, the NSCN-K leadership based in Nagaland had expelled its founder chairman S S Khaplang from the top post, holding him guilty of removing the outfit's armed wing chief and filling another senior post without consultation with its 'national assembly'.
The decision to 'impeach' and remove Khaplang, a Hemi Naga originally from Myanmar, was taken at an emergency session of the 'National Tatar Hoho' (the 'national assembly' of the outfit's underground government called 'Government of the People's Republic of Nagalim') held at Oking on June 6 last.
Back in 1988, the NSCN was split into two factions NSCN-K led by Khaplang and NSCN-IM led by Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah.
Khaplang faces allegations of being lukewarm to the efforts of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation to bring about peace and reconciliation in the Naga homeland by creating consensus among all Naga rebel groups.