New Delhi: Three months after the gruesome attack in Manipur that left 18 Army personnel dead, NIA Thursday announced a cash reward of Rs 7 lakh for information leading to arrest of S S Khaplang, Chief of NSCN-K, a rebel Naga group allegedly responsible for the killings.
NIA also announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on Niki Sumi, self-styled chief of the armed wing of NSCN-K, who is alleged to have led a group of rebels on June four and carried out an attack on Army personnel in Manipur's Chandel district.
"S S Khaplang is head of the NSCN (K) group and Niki Sumi is holding the charge of armed wing of said group. They were closely associated with the decision to attack Assam Rifles personnel at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima on March 26 and subsequent string of attacks on armed forces including the attack on 6 Dogra Regiment Convoy in Chandel district of Manipur on June four killing 18 Army personnel," the National Investigation Agency(NIA) said in a statement.
The agency said any member of the public giving any reliable information about the whereabouts of these hardcore terrorists that could lead to their arrest will be rewarded.
Khaplang is a resident of Myanmar while Sumi hails from Nagaland. There are reports that 75-year-old Khaplang was in a hospital and later shifted to Taga, a place which is at a junction of India-Myanmar-China border.
Piecing together the evidence collected so far, the anti-terror probe agency said the total number of militants who participated in the attack was 23 out of whom two were killed on June four in retaliatory action by the Army in Chandel district of Manipur, official sources said.
Army trucks were attacked with 'Lathod guns' and grenades by suspected terrorists of NSCN (Khaplang), killing 18 soldiers and injuring 15 others in the Manipur attack.
The militants had formed three groups to carry out the attack and explosive-laden cans were planted alongside the road to maximise the damage, the sources said.
During the investigations, NIA examined several surrendered militants of NSCN-K, who also helped them identify many of the accused.
In retaliatory strikes following the ambush, Indian army commandos had hit two insurgent camps at different locations along Myanmar's border with Nagaland and Manipur, inflicting significant damage and casualties.
NSCN(K), which walked out of a ceasefire agreement with India in March this year, has been involved in a series of attacks in tandem with some other militant groups in the North-East under the banner of 'United Liberation Front of South East Asia'.
NIA had registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the attack.