If proliferation of arms among Northeast insurgent outfits has been a security concern, the emergence of new outfits and groups in the Northeast is turning out to be a bigger threat for the security establishment. The latest cause of worry is the renewed efforts being made by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) group to revive the Northeast insurgency by using the platform of United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFWSEA).
UNLFWSEA is led by the Khalpang faction of the NSCN and brings together the cadres of ULFA, National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) to form a lethal group. NSCN(K) chairman S.S. Khaplang was the chairman of this group till 2017 when he was alive, but after his death last year, the outfit had been lying low. The new chairman Khango Konyak of NSCN(K) has now revived it.
The latest June 5 attack on the Assam Rifles camp in Nagaland's Mon district is suspected to be the handiwork of this conglomerate of insurgent groups led by NSCN(K). A group of armed terrorists had attacked the camp in the wee hours, injuring one jawan. Incidentally, this attack was carried out days ahead of the first death anniversary of Khaplang, who died on June 9 last year.
The Assam Rifles has launched a major operation against the militants, and intelligence agencies are alert to the possibility of the UNLFWSEA carrying out more such attacks in the coming months.
“There is renewed concern after the attack on the AR camp about this conglomeration of insurgent groups at the behest of the Khaplang faction, which is now led by Khango Konyak. They are a lethal grouping where they have combined their prowess to target security forces. The latest attack is an indication of its revival,'' said an intelligence official.
The United Liberation Front of Assam (independent), Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), Kamatpur Liberation Organisation and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) faction together formed this group two years back in the Taga area of Myanmar. However, at that time it was called the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW). Seven Assam Rifles jawans and one belonging to the Territorial Army had been killed in an ambush by the UNLFW in 2015. The outfit had carried out a few more attacks.
Security officials said this group has grown over the years and taken a new form to cover a larger geographical spread, covering a number of northeast states like Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. The common platform is being used by the different insurgent outfits to reenergise their demand for secession by using the term South East Asia for the 'Northeast'.