Indian army kills 5 Naga rebels in remote northeast
GAUHATI, India (AP) — India’s army on Friday killed five insurgents from a Naga rebel group that months earlier attacked the military in the country’s remote northeastern region bordering Myanmar, an official said.
Col. Newton, an army spokesman who uses one name, said the soldiers killed the rebels in Pangsha, a village in Nagaland state’s Tuensang district. The region is 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state.
He said the insurgents belonged to a faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland led by S.S. Khaplang. In June, the faction ambushed an Indian army convoy in neighboring Manipur state, killing 18 soldiers in their worst attack in two decades. Since then, the army has stepped up operations against the group.
The faction has been fighting for an independent homeland for the Naga tribes. It ended peace talks with the Indian government in June after 14 years of futile negotiations.
The Indian government recently allowed Naga civic leaders to visit Myanmar to hold talks with leaders of the Khaplang faction who live there to encourage them to return to the peace talks.
Separatist groups in the northeast accuse the Indian government of exploiting the region’s rich natural resources while neglecting local development.