Five Ex-Leaders of Myanmar Naga Group Jailed for Unlawful Association
By Htet Khaung Lin 7 November 2019
YANGON – Five leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NCSN-K) who were expelled from the group last week were sentenced along with six other members to two years’ imprisonment under the Unlawful Association Law by the Khamti Township Court in Sagaing Region on Wednesday.
The five are former NSCN-K Home Affairs Minister and retired Major General Angmai; Religious Affairs Minister U Kyaw Wan Sein; Forestry Minister U An Kam (also known as Angkan); Central Council member U Saw Htin; and a Naga army lieutenant colonel, Aung Sai. U An Kam was the leader of the Khaplang branch of the NSCN’s peace committee, U Kyaw Wan Sein was its secretary and the other three were committee members.
The verdicts were delivered on their 25th court appearance since their arrests on March 9 by the Myanmar military. They were charged under Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Law.
U Kyaw Wan Sein told the media after the court decision that they didn’t have any comment on being expelled from the group. He said they have no plan to appeal.
He said he could not say what the consequences of their expulsion on the peace process would be, as they were all members of the NSCN-K’s peace committee.
“Whether it affects the peace process depends on the current NSCN-K and the government,” he added.
U Wunna, the patron of the Naga National Party, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that the group were imprisoned for helping Assam and Manipur rebels in their fight against the Indian authorities by providing shelter and military training in Taga, where the NSCN-K’s headquarters is based.
The military’s Northern Command raided Taga on Jan. 29, alleging that the NSCN-K sheltered and trained Assam and Manipur rebels.
U Wunna said such imprisonment is unnecessary and harms ethnic unity.
“Now we have a lot to think about. When they were arrested, they were joining a meeting to discuss peace. This action is not good. The NSCN-K may have second thoughts about [signing] the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement,” he said.
The NSCN, the Naga armed group based in Myanmar, is trying to establish a state of Nagaland together with Naga rebels across the border in India.
The group refuses to sign the NCA, although it did sign a bilateral ceasefire with the Sagaing regional government in April 2012. The NSCN has taken part in peace negotiations as an observer.
Due to the attack on its headquarters and the arrest of its members, the group has refused to participate in the peace process since late January.
A Tatmadaw spokesman on Feb. 3 accused the NSCN-K of violating its own bilateral ceasefire by harboring the Indian rebels.
The Irrawaddy was unable to reach the NSCN-K’s liaison office in Khamti Township for comment on the court verdict.
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