China backing N-E ultras: Intelligence

Violence outsourced: Ulfa chief Baruah reported to be in Yunan

China backing N-E ultras: Intelligence

The Centre is gearing up to face threats from a new formation in the North-East — the United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFWSEA), a group of militants having “close link” with China.

Thursday’s attack in Manipur’s Chandel district, the deadliest in recent times, was well planned out and executed by the ‘Elite Strike Unit’ of the UNLFWSEA, a newly formed joint platform of nine banned militant groups from the North-East. The Army lost 18 men and 15 are critically injured.

The group is led by S S Khaplang, a Burmese Naga leader and chief of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-Khaplang) faction.

Although efforts of a joint formation of banned militants groups has been afoot for half a decade, it was not being aggressively perused since the NSCN(K) was involved in a ceasefire agreement with the Centre for 14 years. In April, the NSCN(K) called off the ceasefire and the Centre also retreated saying it would not go into any deal with the faction. Ever since there have been serious developments on the India-Myanmar border.

“It was the local banned militant group Kanglei Yawol Kana Lup (KYKL) and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) which took the lead in the attack. They knew the terrain well and have sharp shooters. But they did not have the capacity to plan such a deadly attack; here came the NCSN-K cadres. We have information that possibly self-styled Lieutenant Tamba of the KYKL led the attack. After the attack the militant left for probably Thantapin village which is right on the porous Indo-Myanmar border and near to Tamu in Myanmar where the KYKL has a base camp,” said a senior Manipur Police official on condition of anonymity.

This attack did not come without warning. On May 3, 8 Assam Rifles personnel were killed and 10 others injured when the NSCN(K) triggered a blast and ambushed an Army convoy in Mon district of Nagaland bordering Myanmar. On April 2, in another attack, three Army jawans were killed in an ambush by the same outfit in Tirap district in Arunachal Pradesh.

The NSCN(K) and the Myanmar government signed a ceasefire agreement in April 2012 and the outfit was allowed autonomy the districts of Lahe, Leshi and Nanyun. The agreement also permits NSCN(K) members the freedom to move “unarmed” across Myanmar.

Under the NSCN-K protection, a dozen banned militants groups of the North-East reportedly have hideouts in Sagaing division of Myanmar bordering Nagaland and Manipur. Last month, Assam DGP Khagen Sharma said that intelligence agencies have tracked the movements of Paresh Baruah, the self-styled ULFA commander-in-chief in China’s Yunan Province.

Baruah had been one of the strongest advocates of an united front. The ULFA had been earlier involved in joint operations with the NSCN-K and the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) of Meghalaya, but now it seems the groups have galvanised perhaps with the help of a ‘foreign’ hand.

Different intelligence agencies have details of how Baruah maintains links with China.

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