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Guerrilla Leader Shot Dead in India

August 19, 1999

GAUHATI, India (AP) _ Gunmen killed a top separatist leader in northeastern India on Thursday, police said, jeopardizing two years of peace talks aimed at ending decades of bloodshed in the remote Nagaland state.

Dally Mungro, general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland’s Khaplang group, was forced out of bed and shot at point blank range in a rebel camp just outside Kohima, the state capital, police said.

Mungro’s security guard and another prominent leader of his group also were killed, an officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The mountainous area is 1,000 miles east of New Delhi.

The NSCN guerrillas have been fighting for a homeland for the Naga tribespeople since 1950. They claim the Naga chieftains who ruled the region were forced to join India when British colonialism ended in 1947. The insurgency has claimed more than 25,000 lives.

Mungro represented the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, which has been reluctant to negotiate peace with the Indian government. The other faction, the Isac-Muivah group, has been holding peace talks with government representatives.

``We are convinced that Mr. Mungro has been killed by the rival NSCN group,″ said S.C. Jamir, the chief minister, or highest elected official, in Nagaland. ``This is not going to help the Naga cause for restoration of peace in the state.″

For the first time, the Khaplang faction had indicated last week that it would be willing to hold peace talks under certain conditions.

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