UTLA opens own camp at Phaiton

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IMPHAL, Aug 10: One of the SoO groups United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) had recently deserted the designated camp in Churachandpur and has opened a camp on the Jiribam highway at Phaiton village under Jiribam police station, according to police sources.

It may be recalled here that 43 UTLA cadres had surrendered to government authorities at Ist MR Complex at Imphal Haying Khongbal in the presence of the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on 27 October 2011.

The village Phaiton is about half kilometre away from Gunlarthol on the NH 37.

The surrender ceremony was attended by state DGP Yumnam Joykumar and GOC of 57 Mountain Division Major General Vijay Poonen.

It was followed by signing of Suspension of Operations (SoO) after tripartite talks involving the Centre and the state government.

After the signing of SoO, the UTLA cadres were staying at the designated camps of the Kuki National Organization (KNO) in Churachandpur and UTLA has been demanding a separate designated camp of their own.

The sources said, about 40 cadres of the United Tribal Liberation Army deserted the KNO camps along with weapons without informing the government and had turned up at Phaiton near Jiribam on NH 37.

The cadres who could not be accommodated at the newly established camp at Phaiton are occupying the homes of the village chief and others, the sources added.

As they arrived at Phaiton, the cadres began taking percentage cuts from the wages of the job card holders and issuing extortion notices to certain individuals through the mobile phone.

The self styled Home Secretary of UTLA Seiminlum Selhou and Defence Secretary Robert Singson are among the cadres staying at Phaiton village.

It may be mentioned here that top UTLA cadre Seiminlun Selhou alias S Lun, aged 35, s/o Tonglet Selhou of Koite village Churachandpur district and Private Neo Kipgen alias Lulam, aged 24, s/o Heikhai Kipgen of Motbung, Senapati district were arrested by police commandos and AR on July 20 at 2.30 am from Phaiton.

They were arrested alongwith a 9 mm Mauser pistol with 7 rounds, one carbine magazine and 2 mobile phones.

A police case (FIR No 54(7) 2012 Jiribam PS u/s 384-400-34 IPC 25 (1) Arms Act was taken up against them but they were released a few days later, the sources added.

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