Elite counter-terrorism force, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has claimed a major headway in the investigations of June 4 Manipur ambush where 18 jawans of Indian army were killed. The central agency has arrested Khumlo Abi Anal, a key member of Naga insurgent group NSCN-K for allegedly being a part of the conspiracy to carry out attack on the convoy of Dogra regiment in Chandel area of the north-eastern state. This also happens to be the first breakthrough in the criminal probe of the shocking incident.
The NIA claims that 40-year old Khumlo Abi Anal had allegedly participated in the conspiracy to carry out deadly attack on the army men. The agency has further claimed that Anal is a self-styled ‘Regional Commander’ of the insurgent group.
Arrested from Chandel district of Manipur, the accused was produced before NIA’s special court on Monday where the NIA secured his custody till 7th July. The agency is expecting more breakthroughs after Anal’s thorough interrogation.
This is the first breakthrough achieved by NIA which was handed over the probe in the case within a couple of days of the attack on the 4th of June. The agency is also claiming that Anal had got himself arrested in a different case to evade his role in the ambush. But as the probed deepened, Anal’s role became more prominent after which he was apprehended and finally arrested by the NIA after sustained rounds of questioning.
The NIA has further claimed that 23 NSCN-K members participated in the attack, including the two killed who were killed in the incident. Out of the remaining 21, the central agency has been able to identify 14 NSCN-K cadre members who had carried out the ambush.
The militants had come in three groups and carried out the attack, the NIA official claimed.
Several surrendered militants of the insurgent group NSCN-K were put to questioning who also helped the NIA identify many of the accused in the case.
Soon after the attack on 4th June, the Central government had declared an ‘all-out offensive’ against the groups responsible for ambush on the army convoy of 6 Dogra regiment. The attack was also said to be the worst attack on the army personnel since the 1999 Kargil war.
In a retaliatory attack, the Indian army commandos had hit two camps of insurgents at two locations along Nagaland and Manipur borders with Myanmmar, inflicting serious damage on insurgents.
NSCN(K), which reneged from a ceasefire in March, has been involved in a series of attacks in tandem with some other militant groups under the banner of United Liberation Front of South East Asia.
(With inputs from the PTI)