Naga Armed Group Says Myanmar Military Won't Let Ailing Chairman Travel

By Lawi Weng & Chit Min Tun 30 July 2018

YANGON/Mon State — A senior leader of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) says the Myanmar military has refused to let the ethnic armed group’s chairman leave the Hukwang Valley in Sagaing Region.

The group says Chairman Khango Konyak is sick and wants to leave the valley for higher elevation.

“He does not want to stay in the hot area because he is sick, so he wants to move to a higher area where it’s cold,” Eno Angang, an NSCN-K central committee member, told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

But he said the Myanmar military’s regional commander in Sagaing has told the chairman several times since last month to stay in the valley.

Sources close to the armed group say the chairman often goes into hiding for his safety and that NSCN-K leaders believe the military wants to keep him in the valley to better monitor his movements.

The NSCN-K signed a ceasefire agreement with the Sagaing Region government in 2012. It has not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the central government but attended the third session of the Union Peace Conference earlier this month as an observer.

On Sunday, Indian news agency Firstpost reported that tensions between the NSCN-K’s fighters and the Myanmar military were currently high in the Hukwang Valley, where the rebels recently withdrew from an outpost under military pressure.

The NSCN-K is based along Myanmar’s border with India and wants peace talks with Naypyitaw to cover ethnic Naga living on both sides. A splinter group, the NSCN-M, has been holding separate peace talks with Delhi.

Naga living in Myanmar and India are known locally as eastern Naga and western Naga, respectively. They are one of six ethnic groups granted self-administered areas under the Constitution and have representatives in Myanmar’s local parliaments.