The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) has planned extensive meetings with Naga community and religious leaders to establish peace in the Naga Self-Administered Zone of Myanmar’s Sagaing Region.
The Tatmadaw (military) overran the group’s headquarters in Taga village, Nanyun township, Sagaing Region, on January 29 and now controls the area.
A civilian committee was formed on February 24 to reduce tensions between the military and the armed group.
“Before we meet with the government, we have to meet with the civilian committee, although a date has not yet been fixed. There is now no fighting between the Tatmadaw and our forces despite the military operations in Nagaland. We are meeting with the committee to seek its opinion on how best to maintain peace in the area,” U Kyaw Wan Sein, a central executive committee member of the group, told media persons.
On January 29, Burmese troops, led by the Hkamti township tactical commander under the Tatmadaw’s North-West Command, took control of the group’s headquarters.
There was no fighting, as the NSCN-K, now divided after the ouster of its former chairman Khango Konyak, is keen to preserve its ceasefire with the Myanmar government.
The Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services in early February issued a press release stating that military forces had seized three outposts and two military training schools run by rebel groups fighting the Indian government in Assam and Manipur. It said the military also seized small arms and ammunition in the operation.
The military accuses the group of allowing rebels opposed to the Indian government to operate in its areas and said it arrested six NSCN-K members and two Assam and Manipur rebels.
It claimed to have “evidence that Manipur and Assam insurgents stayed in the area and documents showing their links with the NSCN-K”.
The NSCN-K had signed a regional truce with the Thein Sein government in April 2012, and the government has urged it to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), but the group has said it will not sign the NCA unless the government reaches an agreement that includes all the Naga people in north-eastern India and Myanmar.
The Myanmar government has said that was not possible.
The group was founded in 1980 with the aim of establishing a sovereign Naga state.
It split into two factions in 1988 – the NSCN-K in Myanmar led by SS Khaplang, and the NSCN-IM in India, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muviah.
SS Khaplang died in 2017.
But while the Muivah group has remained united, the Khaplang group has split into four factions.
One is led by Khole Konyak and Khitovi Zhimomi, the second by P Thikak and a third by ousted chairman Khango Konyak.
The main K faction is led by Khaplang’s adopted nephew Sung Aung.
Subir Bhaumik is a veteran journalist based in Kolkata and author of several books on Northeast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org