'Encounter' between the Army and a Naga group
By N. Vijaylakshmi, Convenor, Manipur PUCL
12 NSCN (I-M) persons
killed in 'encounter' with Army
According to information available here, twelve members of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) were killed in an 'encounter' with troops on July 11 along the Assam-Manipur Border during the early hours. The Army maintains that large amounts of arms were also recovered.
The 'encounter' took place close to the Jiri River at a place called Bolapunj in Assam's North Cachar district at around 3:30 a.m. According to the Army sources, personnel of the 17 Para Field Regiment were on patrol on the banks of the Jiri river when they were fired on by an unidentified group, later identified as under grounds, leading to an exchange of fire.
In all 12 of the underground cadre were killed in the exchange of fire, while some others managed to escape. There were no casualties on the Army's side, the sources said.
The Army sources have given the following list of Arms recovered: Three AK-56 rifles, three 7.62 self loading rifles, a 9 mm carbine, a 9 mm pistol, two .303 rifles, two hand grenades, 30 magazines and altogether 742 rounds of ammunition, other equipment and some documents.
It was later learnt from the documents that the slain cadres belonged to the NSCN (I-M), the Army sources claimed.
In view of the ceasefire agreement between the Government of India and the NSCN, this incident is bound to create further complications as the agreement is going to expire at the end of the month and attempts are being made by some groups, including the PUCL to persuade both the parties to extend it to facilitate the continuance of the democratic process.
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(PUCL Bulletin,Sept., 2000)