Arunachal Pradesh MLA, son among 11 killed in ambush

Police said the assailants, allegedly belonging to the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, ambushed the vehicles of NPP MLA Tirong Aboh’s family.

Updated - June 09, 2020 12:26 pm IST

Published - May 21, 2019 04:29 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Arunachal Pradesh MLA Tirong Aboh. Photo: Special Arrangement

Arunachal Pradesh MLA Tirong Aboh. Photo: Special Arrangement

Suspected members of a Naga extremist group on Tuesday gunned down 11 people, including a legislator and candidate of the National People’s Party (NPP), in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The assailants, allegedly belonging to the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, targeted a convoy of four vehicles near Bogapani, about 20 km from the district headquarters Khonsa, around 11.30 a.m. Among the dead were Tirong Aboh, the MLA representing the Khonsa West constituency, his 20-year-old son Loggem Aboh and party general secretary Wangngoi Hakhun.

“As per information, armed men stopped the vehicles and fired upon the occupants, killing 11 people, including the MLA, and injuring two others. An operation by Army units has been launched for catching the perpetrators,” a police spokesperson said from Itanagar. 

Seeking re-election 

The 42-year-old Aboh had won the Khonsa West Assembly seat in 2014 as a candidate of the People’s Party of Arunachal. He was seeking re-election as an NPP candidate. 

“I’m shocked and saddened by the brutal attac. Strongest possible action will be taken against those responsible,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in a tweet. Chief Minister Pema Khandu said no effort would be spared to catch the culprits.

The elections to the 60 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in the State, held on April 11, were marked by violence that claimed the life of an NPP supporter on March 29. The man, identified as Jaley Anna, was also allegedly killed by an NSCN faction in Tirap district.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, also the president of the NPP, condemned the “brutal attack” and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to act against those responsible. 

A defence spokesperson said it was not possible for the armed forces to be in all places in a mountainous territory despite “area domination by the Army and the Assam Rifles.”

The attack, officials said, is likely to put the focus on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act that the Centre had partially withdrawn from three of Arunachal Pradesh’s nine districts where it was in force.

In an order on April 2, the Ministry of Home Affairs had announced the partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the Frontier State 32 years after it was imposed. 

The Act was withdrawn from areas under four police stations — Balemu and Bhalukpong in West Kameng district, Balijan in Papum Pare district (under which Itanagar falls) and Seijosa in East Kameng district. 

It is applicable in areas bordering Myanmar where that country’s Army has stepped up the offensive against the NSCN (Khaplang) and other northeast Indian extremist groups.

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