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ULFA's Burmese faction hampering peace efforts

October 06, 2010 22:55 IST

Though the United Liberation Front of Asom has lost almost all its key shelters in Bangladesh with the incumbent Bangladesh regime extending overwhelming cooperation to the Indian government, the outfit's base in Myanmar has remained a cause for concern and major hurdle in facilitating an all encompassing peace talks with the group.

After several key leaders of the ULFA in Bangladesh surrendered to Indian security forces, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday indicated similar attempt to bring in ULFA cadres based in Myanmar to Assam 'could take some time'.

"The Myanmar faction (of ULFA) has not yet come. They will have to come through a difficult terrain controlled by different insurgent groups," he said even as he reiterated that talks could be held in the absence of ULFA' commander-in-chief' Paresh Barua.

It is the 28th battalion of ULFA that has taken refuge at Sagaing in Myanmar in areas adjacent to Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. In 2008, the 'A' and 'C' companies of the battalion led by senior leader Mrinal Hazarika declared a truce and came overground. They are currently being lodged at 'truce-time 'designated camps in Assam. However,the cadres in the 'B' company of the 28th battalion under leaders Jibon Moran and Bijoy "Chinese" Das continued to remain in Myanmar at a location close to the council headquarters of the Naga rebel group Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (Khaplang) led by S S Khaplang, a Naga of Burmese origin.

Meanwhile, adding to worries of security forces, the hawkish faction of the ULFA based in Myanmar has recruited a number of new cadres from upper Assam disricts ignoring government's efforts to bring the outfit to the negotiating table through its top leaders in jail including chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. Security fsources informed that the outfit has even set up a new camp with fresh recruits in northern Sagaing close to Kachin and revived is old ties with Myanmar based Kachin Independence Army ( KIA) for training and logistics support.

K Anurag in Guwahati