The Assam Rifles alleges that the NSCN (IM) has violated the ceasefire ground rules by setting up an unauthorised camp in Sihai Khunou-Khamasom of Manipur’s Ukhrul district.
Defence spokesman Lt Col Chiranjeet Konwar in a statement issued on Sunday said during a routine aerial recce on April 25, some temporary hutment type structures were observed in the forest area at Sihai Khunou-Khamasom in Ukhrul.
Assam Rifles troops were deployed “to verify confirmed the existence of an unauthorised camp of NSCN (IM)” in that area.
It has been stated that the Commander of the troops requested the villagers and the Pastor to inform the NSCN(IM) cadres to vacate the camp immediately as it is an “unauthorised camp and is in gross violation of existing ceasefire ground rules”.
“The same day, general secretary of UNC gave a phone call to Commander of Assam Rifles Sector & confirmed the presence of NSCN(IM) camp in that area,” Lt. Col. Konwar stated.
On April 26 at around 6 pm, the Inspector general of Assam Rifles briefed the chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG) about the prevailing situation and existence of the “unauthorized” camp of the NSCN(IM) in Sihai Khunou-Khamasom.
“On April 27, 20 19, at around 2.15 pm, it was confirmed by the chairman of CFMG that instructions have been issued by the group for immediate vacation of the NSCN(IM) camp,” the defence spoksman stated.
Accordingly, the Assam Rifles troops contacted the villagers to confirm whether the NSCN(IM) had vacated the camp or not. Meanwhile, the area has been reinforced by additional troops and the “unauthorised camp is under constant surveillance by air and other means”.
Aerial reconnaissance in the morning on April 27 revealed that the camp has not been vacated.
The defence spokesman further said: “The onus for inconvenience to villagers is entirely due to the irresponsible actions by NSCN (IM) cadres; the security forces have shown great restraint. The villagers who were again sent towards the camp today met SS Lt Col David Rambo, who is awaiting instructions from Hebron (the headquarters of NSCN-IM.”
Stating that despite extreme restraint shown by Assam Rifles troops, no action has been taken by NSCN (IM) to vacate the unauthorized camp, the defence spokesman further stated: “This is a serious violation of ceasefire ground rules by NSCN(IM). The onus for further escalation rests with NSCN(IM) hierarchy, if the unauthorised camp is not vacated immediately.”