Deposed NSCN-K chairman Khango Konyak has not yet crossed into Indian territory because he is not yet sure which Naga rebel faction he is going to join up, intelligence sources said.
He has crossed Hangshen in Sagaing Division’s Naga self administered zone and was last seen at Rannubasti or Lanobasti camping with those fighters who had joined him in the evening of August 20.
Also read: Khango joining Muivah!
“All their communications that we have picked up seem to suggest they are still in Myanmar territory,” a top intelligence official said.
There may be two reasons why Khango is seemingly not rushing to cross into Indian Naga areas though that is what he may finally do.
He needs to first decide which of the Naga rebel factions he will join.
There were indications that he might join up with the NSCN (Muivah) group.
Also read: Khango ousted as NSCN (K) group chairman
But Khango wants to join the group on his own terms – he wants to be sure of the right position in the group in keeping with his long association with the Naga rebel movement.
So the ousted NSCN-K group chairman, who has not been well in recent months, is reportedly in touch with not just the Muivah group but also some of the other Naga rebel factions.
The Indian government last year accorded some legitimacy to six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) by signing a ‘Deed of Commitment’ on August 8, 2017 at Dimapur.
The NNPGs include – the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Neopao Konyak/Kitovi (NSCN-NK), NSCN–Reformation (NSCN-R), and four factions of the Naga National Council (NNC) – the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), NNC-Parent Body, Non-Accordist factions of NNC/National People’s Government of Nagaland (NNC/NPGN-NA), and Government Democratic Republic of Nagaland (NNC/GDRN-NA).
The government signed a ceasefire agreement with NSCN-NK on April 27, 2012, and with NSCN-R on April 27, 2015.
It is not clear which faction other than the Muivah group Khango has been in touch with because only the Muivah group has owned up to having been in touch with him.
But some sources close to Naga rebel factions say he is in touch with other factions beside the Muivah group, possibly with the Khole-Khitovi faction.
Khole like Khango is a Konyak. He was the armed wing chief of the undivided NSCN and sided with Khaplang during his fratricidal strife with Muivah in 1988 but later broke away from the Burmese Naga chieftain to form his own faction with Khitovi Zhimomi.
It is only when Khango decides on joining a particular faction will he settle on the route of his onward march, depending on which Indian Naga area that particular faction is strongly entrenched.
Secondly, the NSCN-K group is treated as the most hostile group among Naga rebels by Indian Army and para-military forces after it staged multiple attacks on them following the unilateral abrogation of the ceasefire in 2015.
If Khango tries to cross the India-Myanmar border on his own, he will be treated as a legitimate target by Indian forces.
Military officials have told Northeast Now that they have no instructions to let him pass because the NSCN-K group is no longer a ceasefire group in India and its fighters have attacked Indian forces in recent weeks.
Only if Khango joins one of the Naga rebel factions who have a ceasefire with Indian forces will he be safe during the border crossover.
A rushed crossover raises security issues for the deposed chairman and fighters loyal to him.
A top Muivah group leader had earlier indicated that they would escort him out of Myanmar to safety of their bases if he joins them.
This is not because Khango may be attacked by NSCN-K group because they have promised him safe passage but because he may be hit by Indian forces.