50 NDFB rebels held after entering India from Myanmar via Manipur, Nagaland 'to make peace'

It is yet to be clarified whether they came to surrender and make peace with the central government or they were nabbed by Myanmar Army and handed over to Indian authorities.

Published: 12th January 2020 02:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2020 02:32 PM   |  A+A-

Handcuffs, arrest

Image for representation

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Some 50 militants, belonging to Saoraigwra faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S), have entered India from their hideouts in Myanmar and are now in the custody of the police and security forces.

It was not immediately known if they came to surrender and make peace with the central government or they were nabbed by Myanmar Army and handed over to Indian authorities. The outfit operates mostly in Assam's Bodo areas.

According to defence sources, one group entered Manipur from Tamu side in Myanmar while the other made its way into Nagaland through Longwa in the state’s Mon district. "The group that entered Nagaland has 27 people – 19 male members, six females and two children. The other group apparently has more than ten rebels," a defence source told this newspaper.

It was learnt that those who entered Nagaland were being taken to Assam with full security escorts. Nagaland DGP TJ Longkumer, however, expressed ignorance on it. Senior police officers in Assam have remained tight-lipped.

Among those who came over are the outfit’s chief Saoraigwra, general secretary B Ferrenga and cultural secretary I Sulung. The rebels came with a large number of weapons, including assault rifles, and ammunition, which have been seized.

“They have come over apparently to make peace. After they arrived, they were apprehended. It remains to be seen how the government treats them. Modalities of ceasefire have not been worked out. There is a possibility that all of them will be taken to Guwahati or a Bodo area in Assam,” the defence source said.

This NDFB faction, earlier headed by S Songbijit, was responsible for the massacre of over 80 Adivasis (tea tribe community) in northern Assam in December 2014. Following the bloodbath, most of its leaders fled to Myanmar and Bhutan as the security forces launched a massive operation against the rebels. The operation is still continuing.

G Bidai, a top leader who had allegedly masterminded the killings, is believed to be holed up, along with a few rebels, in Bhutan bordering Assam’s Bodo areas. He now finds himself isolated. The NDFB has several factions and at least two of them are engaged in peace negotiations with central government.

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