Niki Sumi (Extreme left) Credit: Facebook

Guwahati: Over 50 cadres of the Niki Sumi faction of the banned NSCN(K) have come overground in Nagaland, sources confirmed. While a ceasefire pact between with the breakaway militant faction and the Government of India (GoI) seems imminent, there is still no clarity on how this new group would join the ongoing peace talks.

“The Government of India would take a call on it,” the source said. “Whether they join as a separate group with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) or whether they are asked to merge with one of the groups already in talks would depend on the numbers they can muster,” the source explained adding that about 52 members of the faction have so far come overground to join the peace process in Nagaland.

Alezo Venuh, coordinator, Working Committee of the NNPGs, a grouping of seven Naga outfits, said there is no communication yet on the Niki Sumi faction. “They have said they want to join the peace process. We are happy, and we welcome them,” Venuh told EastMojo.

Asked if Sumi and his associates would join in as the eight-member of the Working Committee of the NNPGs, Venuh said, “It is for the Government of India to take that call. The talks have already concluded.”

After the 2015 framework agreement with the NSCN (I-M), arguably the largest of the Naga armed groups, six other groups joined the peace talks parallelly as part of a grouping called the Working Committee of the NNPGs. A seventh group, the Khango Konyak-faction of the NSCN (K) joined the Working Committee in 2018 after Konyak, a former chief of the Myanmar-based militant outfit was ousted by Yung Aung who took over the reins of the group.

The NSCN(K) split again in July 2020 when Sumi, Nyamlang Konyak Naga, and Starson Lamkang Naga were reportedly expelled by the Yung Aung faction. Their camp was later reportedly attacked by the Yung Aung faction, forcing them to escape. Nyamlang joined the NSCN(R) in September.

It is not clear when and how Sumi returned to India but his first public statement appeared on December 23 when he said his outfit is aware of “the sincere and genuine efforts” of the Government of India to find a lasting solution to the Naga issue and that his groups have resolved to strengthen and support the peace process at this crucial juncture. The statement added that the group’s leadership has established contact with the officials of the GoI.

In his second statement on December 26, Sumi claimed the contact was established on the invitation of the GoI.

On the invitation of the Government of India to join the peace process, NSCN/GPRN established contact with Government of India to revive the ceasefire… “

Sumi is one of the main accused in the killing of 18 Indian Army personnel on June 4, 2015. It was carried out after the outfit abrogated the ceasefire in March 2015. About 25 militants ambushed a convoy of 6 Dogra Regiment in Chandel district. The NIA chargesheet in the incident notes that 15 soldiers were grievously injured.

The chargesheet said the attack was a conspiracy hatched by NSCN(K), KYKL and KCP, all banned outfits.

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