Restoration of peace likely in Nagaland

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Dimapur, Sep 14: After almost five decades of bloodshed and 20 years of factional clashes between the two warring militant groups, Nagaland can now see a ray of hope for permanent peace as the two NSCN factions have been progressing gingerly for a historic re-unification.

Leaders of the two factions, which met last week at the Akuvuto Baptist Mission Centre near Dimapur under the aegis of the Church-led Forum for Naga Reconciliation, said for the first time in decades both sides ''appeared positive'' about unification.

But the tension between the NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K) continues as mistrust between the two was too deep-rooted leading to the killing of three more NSCN cadres yesterday at Dimpaur.

In a statement the NSCN(IM) faction pointed out that even after the Tuesday talks, there were more than six killings in the past four days and this could jeopardise the whole process.

Formed in 1980, the NSCN split in 1988 and has since been waging a bloody internecine war that has left thousands dead. NSCN(IM) is led by Issac Swu and Th Muviah, which is traditionally Tangkhul Naga dominated who are from Manipur.

The other faction is led by the Khaplang group and their stronghold is in Mokukchang and Mon area. However, of late they have been making ground in Dimapur also, the business hub of Nagaland.

The two groups have been engaged in a bitter turf war for territorial supremacy with an estimated 500 cadres killed in the past four years. The two factions are also operating a ceasefire with New Delhi - the NSCN-IM is currently holding talks with the Centre after entering into a truce in 1997.

The Khaplang faction of the NSCN is yet to begin formal peace talks although it entered into a ceasefire in 2001.

The peace attempt is being brokered by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, the apex body of various civil society and rights groups in Nagaland, backed by the powerful Baptist Church in the state.

Helping the Forum in its efforts are conflict resolution experts from the Britain-based Religious Society of Friends, whose members are commonly known as Quakers, besides some members from the American Baptist Church.


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