Toll rises to 14 in inter-factional clash in Nagaland

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Kohima, June 5 (UNI) The toll in clash between the rival factions of the NSCN rose to 14 today, even as the district administration decided to carry out joint operations in Dimapur to flush out the proscribed cadres within 24 hours.

Official sources said altogether 12 cadres of the GPRN/NSCN were killed and four injured in the clash that occurred in Xelhozhe (Kelhozhe) village in Dimapur town yesterday. Two more NSCN-IM ultras were killed in an inter-factional clash at the Signal Colony of Dimapur town, raising the toll in the violence to 14 so far.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Home Minister Imkong L Imchen today condemned the killings. In a release issued from the Chief Minister's Secretariat, Mr Rio condemned the killings of 14 cadres and expressed concern at the recent spurt of fratricidal bloodshed.

He said a high-level meeting of senior state and police officials was held at Kohima yesterday to review the situation and take appropriate measures for ensuring public safety.

The meeting also emphasised on strict enforcement of the Cease-Fire Ground Rules, jointly by police, Central para-military forces and the Army as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

He also appealed to the underground groups to refrain from the mindless killings and heed the cry of the people for understanding and reconciliation.

In a separate release, Home Minister Imchen termed yesterday's clash as one of the most deplorable acts committed by the NSCN factions.

The Dimapur district administration has decided to carry out joint operations in Dimapur to flush out underground cadres within 24 hours.

Dimapur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Maongwati Aier told newspersons here yesterday that the decision had been taken following the frequent inter-factional clashes between the rival factions of the NSCN despite the order of the district administration and appeals to the underground outfits to vacate civilian places.

The DC convened a meeting of the District Co-ordination Group, attended by Nagaland Home Minister Imkong L Imchen, Additional Director General of Police (Operation) O Alem, Dimapur Superintendent of Police Lirimo Lotha, Assam Rifles officials, CRPF, Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and Nagaland Armed Police (NAP), representatives from Naga Council, Naga Mothers' Association of Dimapur, Gaon Burahs (GB) and Dobhasis (DB) and several tribal Hohos.

Mr Aier said the meeting had decided to take up the flush-out operation and decided to retaliate if any of the factions resorted to firing while conducting the operations.

The entire Dimapur district had been divided into five zones and the Coordination Group had appointed five Sector Magistrates and five Sector Commanders, which included Assam Rifles, CRPF and NAP, he said.

Meanwhile, the NSCN-IM claimed that it had recovered 12 weapons from the slain cadres of the GPRN/NSCN.

In a separate statement, the GPRN/NSCN claimed that 13 activists of the NSCN-IM were killed in yesterday's clash.

Yesterday's incident was the second major attack on the GPRN/NSCN camp after May 14.

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