New Delhi: The stand-off between the security forces and Naga insurgent group NSCN (IM) ended on Wednesday as the group vacated the unauthorised camp they occupied in Manipur. 

Since April 25, tension had gripped the tiny village of Sihai in Manipur’s Ukhrul district as NSCN (IM) had violated the ceasefire by setting up an unauthorised camp there.

According to security forces, NSCN (IM) had occupied a temporary camp in Sihai Village about 5 Km from Khamasom near the Indo-Myanmar Border. The setting up of an unauthorised camp is a gross violation of ceasefire ground rules and against the spirit of the ongoing ceasefire agreement, resulting in a great inconvenience to the locals residing in the adjacent areas.

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The army spotted their camp on April 25 and despite warnings, they did not vacate the camp. Troops were deployed to verify the existence of the unauthorised camp of NSCN (IM) in the area. The matter was addressed by the security forces at the appropriate level so as to ensure no inconvenience is caused to the local people.

The village Sihai is located in the north-east corner of Manipur’s Ukhrul district and is very close to the Myanmar border. The village is about 37 KM north of Ukhrul town and is connected partially by National Highway 150.

“The NSCN (IM) leadership was given a reasonable time to vacate the camp, which they failed to do thereby causing much hardship to the local populace. The attempt by the group to push the security forces to use force was responded with great restraint thereby ensuring that the issue did not escalate further and 21 long years of negotiations were not allowed to go waste,” said a senior official.

The NSCN (IM) is the largest Naga armed group, headquartered at Hebron, nearly 35 km from Dimapur, Nagaland’s largest city. It signed a ceasefire agreement with the Union government in 1997 and the two sides have been engaged in peace talks ever since.

The security forces claim that they have been extremely careful not to escalate despite provocation from NSCN (IM) and approached the Chairman of Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG).  Along with CFMG and civil society organisations, it was ensured that the camp is vacated by NSCN(IM) in conformity with the Ceasefire Ground Rules.