Indian official says key rebel leader dies in Myanmar

He and Khaplang, among others had formed the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) earlier this decade.

Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Saturday condoled the death of NSCN (K) chairman S S Khaplang saying it was tragic that he passed away before things could be taken forward to their logical conclusion. Khaplang, 77, died at the NSCN-K Council Headquarters in Taga in Myanmar's Sagaing Division on Friday night.

The NSCN-K and the Narendra Modi government have refused to re-enter the ceasefire for peaceful dialogue to this day. "Khaplang was very influential in Myanmar and many organisations were dependent on him".

Recalling his first meeting with late Khaplang in October 1998, Wangtin said the former whom he considers as his "Baba" convinced him to join Naga National Movement.

Mr. Konyak was elected vice-chairman of the outfit in 2011 and Mr. Khaplang had issued a statement saying that "Konyak stood steadfast for the rights of the Naga people through thick and thin".

The powerful rebel leader had two homes - one in China's Yunan province and another in Myanmar. Later, he became vice chairman of the Eastern Naga Revolutionary Council.

Meanwhile, NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and ULFA-I Chairman Abhizeet Asom have condoled the death of Khaplang.

After Angami Zapu Phizo, Khaplang was the tallest Naga rebel leader who dominated the insurgency of Northeast for last 50 years, sources said, adding he was the unifying factor for the insurgent groups of the region.

Rijiju said the Indian government had withdrawn ceasefire with NSCN (K) after banning it in 2015 through a special notification.

Following the Manipur ambush in 2015, the Indian Army carried out cross-border raids on NSCN-K camps located inside Myanmar killing several militants. In memory of the departed leader who had dedicated all his life to the cause of the Naga people, let all Naga people dedicate ourselves to strive for peace, harmony and well-being of the entire Naga family so that we and our children can march ahead with the rest of the world as equals in the 21 century and even more'.

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