Itanagar, Dec. 27: The NSCN (Khaplang) has brought in heavily armed members of Myanmar-based Kachin Independent Army (KIA) to take on its rival, the NSCN (Isak-Muivah), in a renewed turf war in two districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
“NSCN-K has turned to the Kachin Independent Army for logistical help to build up bases in the twin districts of Arunachal Pradesh — Tirap and Changlang — and heavily armed KIA fighters have already entered these two districts along the Indo-Myanmar border,” a senior police official told The Telegraph today.
The police official said the NSCN (K) had also started a recruitment drive in the twin districts to take on the rival faction.
“Altogether 16 youths from Pongchau and two others from Bonia village under Pongchau circle were recruited by the NSCN (K) in November,” he said.
Besides, nine youths from Nyinu village under Wakka circle of Tirap district were recruited by the NSCN (K) this month and these youths are currently undergoing training under the guidance of the Kachin Independent Army in Myanmar.
The two districts of Arunachal Pradesh also have bases of NSCN (I-M).
The turf war between the two NSCN factions in the two districts had witnessed bloodshed when both the factions had lost several of its cadres in last part of 2008 and early part of 2009.
The loss of manpower had forced the two factions to subsequently exercise restraint after signing of “covenant of reconciliation” on September 23, 2009, at Chiang Mai in Thailand.
“But the recent reports of NSCN (K) taking help from the KIA and also recruiting more youths in the two districts only indicate that the situation will turn volatile in the days to come,” the police official said.
Sources said the NSCN (I-M), which has a stronghold in Tirap, had also started recruitment drives in certain pockets of the district, but not in an “organised manner and tempo” with which its rival faction is carrying out its operation.
Last year, the NSCN (K) had issued letters to the chieftains of about 15 villages under Longding circle in Tirap district seeking “computer-savvy youths” to join the outfit.
Sources said the outfit has computer engineers and other professionals in its ranks. The NSCN (K) abducted 39 school students from Tirap within months of sending notices to 13 villages in the district asking for 200 boys to join the outfit in January last year.
The outfit later denied reports of abduction saying the youths had joined the outfit voluntarily.
Sources said recently the outfit has zeroed in on villages such as Nyinu, Dadam and Lazu of Wakka area and villages under Pongchau circle for recruitment in Tirap district. Most of these identified recruits are said to be in the age group of 20 to 24 years.
Both the NSCN outfits claimed that the two districts belong to Nagas and have included these in their map of “Nagalim” along with certain parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Even the Nagaland Assembly has adopted resolutions in the past endorsing the NSCN position on these areas.
Sources close to the Naga outfits said the process of reconciliation between the two NSCN factions was moving in the right direction and there could be a breakthrough soon.