TODAY -

Replay of Assam Rifles-NSCN (IM) stand off at Shirui village in 2009
AR troops close in on NSCN (M)'s camp at Sinai Khullen, tension high

Source: The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

Ukhrul/Imphal, April 29 2019: Tension is running high at Sihai Khullen village after a large number of Assam Rifles troops descended on the village in an apparent attempt to drive away cadres of the NSCN (IM) who had set up a camp in the said village resulting in a stand off between the security forces and the NSCN (IM) cadres.

The stand off is reminiscent of a similar situation when the Assam Rifles and NSCN (IM) cadres were in a stand off at Shirui village in Ukhrul district some time in 2009 over a camp set up by the cadres of the armed outfit.

Other than Sihai, the 'taken note' camps of the NSCN (IM), in the words of Assam Rifles, in Manipur include a camp at Oklong in Senapati, Buning in Tamenglong and Phunchung in Chandel
.

On the other hand, the Tangkhul Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Ukhrul is all set to organise a public rally tomorrow at Sihai village so as to ensure 'peace, tranquillity and love' amidst the stand off between the NSCN (IM) and Assam Rifles in the area.

Personnel of 27 Assam Rifles started camping at Sihai village from the evening of April 26, which is about 40 kms away from Ukhrul town and since then, tension has been running high in the area.

The camp of the (NSCN-IM) is located about 15 kms away from the village and it has been cordoned off by the Assam Rifles since Friday evening.

According to the villagers, army chopper hovered around the camp of the NSCN (IM) and thoroughly surveyed the location of the camp and its surroundings.

Following reports of AR personnel being stationed at the village, a team of Tangkhul Social Organizations leaders rushed to the village and approached the AR officers to ease the tension.

However, the standoff between the NSCN (IM) and AR continues and the situation is tense.

The camp of NSCN IM, which is located in between BP 124, and 125 bordering Myanmar is approximately 15 kms from Sihai village.

Assam Rifles, personnel were apparently planning to get the NSCN (IM) camp removed from the area and instead shift to a designated camp.

Despite the best efforts of the leaders of the Tangkhul Social Organisations, to ease the situation, the standoff continued leading to a situation of "no let up in confrontation" between the Assam Rifles personnel and cadres of the NSCN (IM).

Villagers are apprehensive that if any conflict breaks out between the two, the civilians will bear the brunt.

The villagers have appealed to all concerned to resolve the stand off amicably- without resorting to violence.

The villagers further mentioned that more troops of Assam Rifles have been deployed today.

On being contacted, DGP LM Khaute said that as of now the State police are yet to receive any official intimation from the Assam Rifles, but added that if they do receive any inputs, then the needed co-operation will be extended.

Speaking to The Sangai Express a source said that the Chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group was briefed about the prevailing situation and existence of an unauthorised camp of NSCN (IM) in the general area of Sihai/Khamasom, Ukhrul Dist on April 26 at around 6 pm by the IG of the Assam Rifles.

On April 27 at about 2.15 pm, it was confirmed by the Chairman CFMG that instructions have been issued for immediate vacation of the NSCN (IM) camp.

Accordingly, Assam Rifles troops contacted the villagers to confirm that the camp has been vacated.

In the meanwhile, the area has been reinforced by additional troops and the unauthorised camp is under constant surveillance by air and othermeans, added the source.

However through aerial reconnaissance on April 27 morning it was found that the camp has not been vacated, said the source and added that the onus of inconveniencing the villagers is entirely due to the irresponsible actions of the NSCN (IM) cadres.

The security forces have shown great restraint, said the source and added that the villagers who were again sent towards the camp met SS Lt Col David Rambo yesterday who is awaiting instructions from Hebron.

Despite extreme restraint shown by Assam Rifles troops, no action has been taken by NSCN (IM) to vacate the unauthorised camp.

This is a serious violation of ceasefire ground rules, said the source and added that the onus rests with NSCN (IM) hierarchy if any untoward incident occurs.


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