LEIMAKHONG (MANIPUR), Sept 7 – Altogether 29 underground cadres including 23 from five armed Naga groups have laid down their arms and surrendered to the Army authority at the 57th Mountain Division headquarter here, 20 km north west of Imphal, today.
The surrendered militants which included seven cadres each of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-Khole) and Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), six cadres of NSCN (K), three cadres of People’s United Liberation Front(PULF), two cadres each of the banned United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and Naga National Ccouncil (NNC) and one each of NSCN-IM and banned Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL). They also handed over 28 weapons including four Kalashnikov rifles, 16 pistols, one Lathode grenade launcher, 645 rounds of ammunition along with 21 magazines and two radio sets to the Army authority.
“The vocational training of their choice will be given as per the rehabilitation process”, said Major General Binoy Poonen, GOC 57th Mountain Division while speaking to media, after the hour-long home coming ceremony. He also appealed to the others to abjure violence and join the mainstream to become responsible citizens of the country.
Additional DGP (Law & Order) Manipur V Zathang and other top brass of army in the State besides two leaders of Manipur-based armed group United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA)also attended the day’s function.
UTLA’s president Ishael, in presence of general secretary Siehzahau T Singsit, also made a statement during the home coming ceremony.
His statement indicated that UTLA is likely to join the tripartite talks with the government.
Stating that UTLA is the leading mass revolutionary organisation struggling for the re-unification of the Kuki people, Ishael said, “As the Centre and State Government have invited all underground organisations to join the mainstream with a big open arm, my organisation has deemed fit to accept the invitation for talks under Suspension of operation (SoO)”.
Though the authority concerned is yet to finalise the tentative date for signing an agreement, he said, “We will organise a homecoming ceremony shortly”.
At present, 19 Kuki armed groups under the umbrella organisation of United People’s Front and Kuki National Organisation are having the historic tripartite SoO (Suspension of Operation) with the Government of India and Manipur Government, after they signed an agreement in New Delhi on August 22,2008.