Key man in ambush on armymen in Manipur held by NIA

Key man in ambush on armymen in Manipur held by NIA

A senior NSCN (Khaplang) militant has been arrested for his role in the killing of 18 Army personnel in Manipur’s Chandel district and he is in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Khumlo Abi Anal (40), a self-styled regional commander of NSCN(K), was apprehended from Chandel and security agencies have achieved the first breakthrough, 25 days after the incident.

Security officials said Anal got himself arrested in a different case soon after the June 4 incident to hoodwink investigators. His role in the incident came up during investigations and during sustained interrogation, he “admitted” to playing a role in the conspiracy.

He was produced before NIA Special Judge who remanded him to the agency’s custody until July 7.

Sources said he was coordinating with an NSCN(K) militant in Myanmar. The operative on the Myanmar side was using a satellite phone to contact Anal on his mobile. Anal’s location was found to be near the ambush site on June 4.

They added he was believed to be taking instruction from the person in Myanmar, who could be Starson Lamkang, who is one of the top-ranking militant in NSCN(K).

Attackers identified

The officials claimed he told them during interrogation that 23 NSCN(K) members in three groups were part of the ambush team. Two of them were killed in the incident.

The NIA has managed to identify 14 of the 21 militants who are alive after the incident. The ultras were identified with the help of several other surrendered militants belonging to the NSCN(K).

The June 4 attack came soon after NSCN(K) walked out of a ceasefire agreement and stepped up attack on security forces in the country.

Following the ambush on Army personnel, the Indian Army conducted an operation inside Myanmar targeting three militant camps and “killed 68 militants”.

The security agencies had earlier zeroed in on NSCN(K)’s self-styled military advisor Niki Sumi, who hails from Nagaland, as the mastermind behind the attack.

Sumi planned the attack along with two other commanders of NSCN(K) Starson and Neymlang as well as one from KYKL. Officials said Sumi was working under the direct supervision of NSCN(K) chief S S Khaplang, who is under treatment in a Myanmar hospital.
According to the Manipur Police sources, Anal might be flown to New Delhi to the NIA headquarters for detailed interrogation.

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