GUWAHATI, June 20 - A number of senior leaders of the militant outfits of North East have been taken into custody by Myanmar Army as part of the operation to flush out the militants from the territory of that country. However, the movement of small groups of militants in Tirap, Changlang, Longding and Namsai areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Mon district of Nagaland remains area of concern for the security forces.
Security sources told The Assam Tribune that at least six senior leaders of the NSCN(K) and a few of the National Democratic Front of Boroland(S) have been taken into custody by the Myanmar Army. The Home Secretary of the NDFB(S) has also been arrested by Myanmar Army as part of the operation.
Sources revealed that the Myanmar Government has been putting pressure on NSCN (K) to sign the National cease-fire agreement signed with other local rebel groups of the neighbouring country. But the outfit has not signed the agreement so far and that is why it is also facing the heat from the Myanmar Army. The NSCN(K) had signed an agreement with Myanmar Army, as per which they were allowed to stay in that country. But as per the provisions of the agreement, the outfit was not supposed to provide shelter to any other outfit and that particular clause was violated by the NSCN(K) by providing shelter to members of a number of militant outfits of the North East including United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and NDFB (S).
It may be mentioned here that the Myanmar Army launched an offensive against the militant groups of North East on January 29 and took over the camps of the outfits, forcing the militants to take shelter either in the villages or in jungles. But with the rainy season approaching, it would be tough for the militants to stay far off from human habitation and Myanmar Army has launched a fresh operation to flush out the militants.
According to estimates of the security agencies, the ULFA(I) has around 150 members and NDFB (S) has around a hundred in Myanmar and they are facing a hard time in the jungles after the camps were taken over by Myanmar Army. The operation by the Myanmar Army also led to a spurt of surrenders and during this year, around 30 militants laid down arms, which include ULFA(I) members who were involved in the killing of five Bengali speaking people in Dhola area.
Facing severe financial crisis, the ULFA(I) has been making desperate efforts to boost coffers with extortions and a number of tea gardens in upper Assam received calls demanding money from leaders of the outfit including Arunodoy Dohotia and Ganesh Lahon. The outfit is also trying to engage over ground sympathizers to collect money and to recruit youths from upper Assam districts.
Meanwhile, security sources admitted that reports of movements of small groups of militants in four districts of Arunachal Pradesh and one in Nagaland is an area of concern and despite launching of operations in those areas, the militants have been able to evade arrest due to the terrain.