Legal Nation

‘Killings of Nagaland civilians unfortunate’: Army orders probe into ‘encounter’ in Mon district

GUWAHATI: The Army has owned responsibility for the killings of civilians in Nagaland’s Mon district, in a statement on December 5, 2021.

“Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon district, Nagaland… The incident and its aftermath are deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” Nagaland’s Dimapur-based 3 Corps said in a statement.

The statement said the security forces suffered “severe injuries” in the incident, including the death of a soldier who succumbed to his injuries.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted: “The unfortunate incident leading to the killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured. High level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land”.

He appealed to everyone to maintain peace.

The leaders of various Naga organisations said 13 civilians were killed when the security forces ambushed them.

According to them, 11 other civilians were injured and two civilians were reported missing.

The incident took place on Saturday evening when the victims, who were daily wagers, were returning home from a coal mine in a pick-up truck.

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the apex tribal organisation of eastern Nagaland, decided to withdraw from the ongoing annual Hornbill Festival at Kisama near state capital Kohima.

The ENPO, which represents six tribes, had adopted a resolution earlier against bloodshed in its area.

“How can we dance at the festival when our people are getting killed?” the Konyak leader asked.

Some Naga organisations demanded action against the guilty personnel. They warned that the families would not receive the bodies if justice was not delivered. They said they would move all national and international human rights organisations.