[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, May 26: More chilling details of the Tirap massacre in which 11 people, including Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh, were murdered by suspected Naga militants are emerging.
According to police sources, the massacre was well planned, and the possibility of the involvement of insiders has not been ruled out.
Twenty militants comprised the team that executed the assassination. The team included operatives from states like Nagaland and Manipur, besides homegrown ones. After executing the massacre, they reportedly broke up into small groups and escaped from the scene.
Two bikers, who were on their way to Khonsa on that fateful day, and who were behind Aboh’s convoy, reportedly witnessed the massacre.
“Initially, the duo was behind the convoy, but they overtook the convoy and were just around 100 metres ahead when they saw the militants. They turned back immediately. However, by then the firing started.
“An injured Longiyam (Along) Aboh, the son of Tirong Aboh, desperately tried to escape and ran towards the bikers, who tried to help him. But due to his injury, he slumped back down on the ground,” the police sources informed.
The militants followed Longiyam and killed him. The bikers fled the scene, managing to save themselves and a woman who was also a member of Aboh’s convoy and had latched onto the bike. Tirong Aboh was reportedly gunned down at point-blank range.
Even though the NSCN (IM) has denied reports linking it to the killing, the police sources suspect the group’s involvement.
Tirong Aboh, during a rally held in Khonsa on 3 April to protest the killing of his worker Jaley Anna, had directly blamed the NSCN (IM) for Anna’s killing.
“We are all Naga, and the NSCN (IM) should support those who work for Naga and Tirap. Why target Jaley Anna? Is he not Naga? I appeal to the higher authorities of the NSCN (IM) to withdraw their cadres who are doing illegal work here,” Aboh had said during the protest rally.
Hinting at possible involvement of political motivation in the killing of his worker, Aboh had also stated: “Those who cannot fight political battles should not take the help of the NSCN.”
The police sources informed that they are looking at the possibility of the involvement of two NSCN (IM) members in particular.
“One is a self-styled brigadier, who hails from Manipur, whose name came up even in the Wangcha Rajkumar killing, and other is a self-styled major who is of Burmese origin but is presently settled in Tirap. It is early days but their involvement cannot be ruled out,” the sources said.
Allegedly the self-styled major is close to some politicians in Tirap district.
It is said that Aboh had on several occasions during his election campaign expressed concern over his own safety.
“During the protest rally in Khonsa also, he had appealed to the administration and the election commission of India to provide additional security to ensure free and fair election. But the government failed to act and did not provide any additional security. Now all the political bosses of the state are shedding crocodile tears,” said a supporter.
Meanwhile, an official of the Tirap district administration informed this daily that there has been no breakthrough in the case so far.
[ Taba Ajum ]