At least six members of a Manipur extremist group have been killed in a factional fight in Myanmar, officials said.
The decision of some cadre to desert with weapons led to the infighting in which “six to eight” members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were killed and three others injured, a spokesperson of a security agency confirmed.
The incident happened on August 10 near the Nanyang Wakathan camp of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang-Yung Aung) in the Sagaing region of Myanmar. The camp is across Pangsau Pass in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
“We confirmed the deaths with the family members of three of the cadre killed in the factional fight. The three were from Kakching and Thoubal districts of Manipur,” the spokesperson said.
According to intelligence officials keeping tabs on the northeast extremist groups, trouble had been brewing within the PLA for some time because of pressure from the Myanmar Army to either pay for lying low in the country or join the soldiers in fighting the pro-democracy forces.
The PLA cadre, short of money because of their inability to extort in India, were being pressured to fight the People’s Defence Force, the armed wing of Myanmar’s National Unity Government in exile.
“The PLA launched a manhunt to bring back the deserters, which led to the gunfight. The bodies of the slain extremists were buried in Myanmar,” an intelligence official said.
The extremists killed were identified as self-styled Major Boycha, Leimba, Angamba, Tanthouba, Tomcha and Suresh.
Members of the PLA and other extremist outfits of the northeast have been paying the NSCN (K-YA) a hefty sum annually for accommodation at its camps.