12 Naga rebels killed in gang war

May 16th, 2008 - 4:17 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

Dimapur, May 16 (IANS) Twelve Naga separatists were killed in a gang war in Nagaland Friday, the police said, heightening tensions sparked by stepped up factional feuds over the past month. Armed militants belonging to two factions the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) attacked each other with automatic weapons, Dimapur Superintendent of Police L. Lotha told IANS.

Twelve people were killed and one man was injured in the fighting, police said.

The battle took place in village Seithekhema, near Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur, and continued for four hours, officials said.

At least 20 people have been killed in clashes between rival NSCN factions in the past month.

Friday’s clash was between cadres of the Isak-Muivah faction of NSCN and a new faction that emerged late last year called the NSCN (Unification), Lotha said.

The police are yet to identify the killed.

“We are not in a position to say immediately which group the dead belong to,” Lotha said.

The Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN has signed a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government since August 1997 and is engaged in peace talks. The status of the NSCN (Unification) vis-a-vis the truce is not known.

The deteriorating law and order situation in Nagaland forced Home Minister Shivraj Patil to fly to the state Thursday and meet officials.

Patil had asked the Nagaland government to crack down on groups engaged in violence.

Group clashes have intensified after the formation last year of the NSCN (Unification) after some leaders and members of the Isak-Muivah faction broke away.

Until then, there was just another NSCN faction headed by S.S. Khaplang. His group is known as NSCN (K).

Like the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN, the NSCN (K) has entered into a ceasefire with the Indian government since 2001.

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