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Dimapur: The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) has responded to the August 20 ‘encounter’ saying that its intention was not to kill Khekato Kinny, a self-styled supervisor-cum-defence ‘kilonser’ (minister) of the NSCN-Reformation (R).

As reported by EastMojo earlier, the incident took place at Kinny’s residence in Thilixu village Block 1 in Dimapur, where Kinny sustained a leg injury. The NSCN(R) later condemned the act as an assassination attempt.

Responding to the encounter, a press release issued by the ministry of information and publicity of NSCN (IM) said that on receiving confidential information about Khekato Kinny’s involvement in the murder of Lt Col Toishe Yeptho of NSCN (IM) on August 16 at his residence in Unity Colony, Purana Bazar-B Dimapur, an inquiry team led by Col Khehoto was sent to Kinny’s residence for further investigation.

“There was no order to shoot Khekato (Kinny). But guilty conscience took control of Khekato who directed his boys not to entertain Col Khehoto in his house and in panic started firing from behind the gate forcing our boys to retaliate. The bullets whizzed past Col Khehoto’s head,” said the statement.

It expressed that it had no desire to resort to this “harsh step” that­ too without any reason. “During our investigation, we got hold of one of his men who spilled out Khekato’s involvement. To kill Khekato was not our mission. Had our motive been to kill him, we could have adopted other recourse that would not miss him,” it added.

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The statement continued saying “Khekato and his boys had the audacity to kill Lt Col Toishe Yeptho in cold-blooded manner right in front of his wife who was also shot at. So, we are constrained to go for this action as demanded by the nature of murder and we shall leave no stone unturned to take the case to its logical conclusion”.

Questioning the murder of its cadre on August 16, it asked, “Why Lt Col Toishe Yeptho was murdered by the NSCN-R when the Nagas are in upbeat mood having recently celebrated the 73rd Naga independence Day and when the reconciliation process is going on for finalising the Indo-Naga political solution?”

“What triggered this ugly situation is the blatant act of irresponsibility shown by some wayward high-ranking members of NSCN (R) who have gone for the killing, taking law and order into their hands. As such, we cannot allow Khekato to go scot-free but to put him through the scrutiny of fair trial for the cold blooded murder of Lt Col Toishe Yeptho,” the statement said.

It further pointed out that the NSCN-R has been a “source of irritatation for quite sometime. But, tolerant as we are, we let it go unhindered. Henceforth, we shall review our stand lest undue advantages are taken over us”.

Sending out a warning, it said: “If NSCN-R officially comes up in defense of the murderer Khekato, this would be tantamount to owning up the murder of Lt Col Toishe Yeptho by NSCN-R.”

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