Two Manipur extremist outfit cadre executed for deserting it

Incident happened days after six members were killed in a factional fight over desertions

Two cadre of the Manipur extremist outfit, People’s Liberation Army (PLA), were executed at the Nanyang Wakathan camp of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang-Yung Aung) in Myanmar on August 16-17 for deserting the organisation, according to security agencies.

The incident happened days after six members were killed in a factional fight, triggered by the decision of some cadre to desert the outfit, said an agency official.

It took place on August 10 at the same camp in the Sagaing region of Myanmar, located across Pangsau Pass in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, where the Manipur PLA has taken refuge on payment basis. The outfit on August 18 issued a statement accusing the Indian security forces of killing the cadre in a covert operation.

Among the dead was a self-styled Major, Boycha, whose real name was Elangbam Birmani. The others were identified as Keisham Somen aka Suresh; Thangjam Nanao aka Lanthoujam; Chabungbam Chaoba aka Angamba; Thokchom Johnson Meitei aka Leimaba and Adhikarimaum Kiran Sharma aka Tomcha, who hold posts in the outfit.

All these cadres were part of the Manipur PLA’s important wing, Strategic Command-I, which has been operating in the area for the past several years. Boycha had served the outfit for 25 years and was handling its key affairs.

Going by the inputs, the probe agencies believe that the rate of desertions from the outfit has lately increased. Since January 2019, over 100 are said to have left it. The desertion figure for all the banned insurgent groups is about 90 this year so far against 74 last year.

Meagre payments, poor living conditions

“The killing of Major Boycha has raised serious questions. There is a strong discontentment over meagre payments and poor living conditions of the low and mid-rank cadres, while the leaders have access to a range of facilities. Fights are breaking out in the outfit over sharing of the funds raised through extortion,” said another official.

Leaders of the Manipur PLA and another outfit, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, are also said to be providing weapons to the Peoples Defence Force, floated by the resistance movement in Myanmar, for money and local support.

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