We Are a Step Ahead, Says ULFA-I Boss as Myanmar Army Cracks Down on Insurgents
In a telephonic interview with News18 from an undisclosed location, Paresh Baruah said, 'It’s quite impossible to control insurgency in Northeast India and Myanmar at the same time.'
An undated picture of Paresh Baruah.
Guwahati: Almost a month after the Myanmar Army launched its “clearance operations” against militant outfits ULFA-I and NSCN-K, the Commander-in-chief of United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) dubbed the success of the operation “impossible”.
In a telephonic interview with News18 from an undisclosed location, Paresh Baruah said, “It’s quite impossible to control insurgency in Northeast India and Myanmar at the same time.”
The offensive was launched by the Tatmadaw, the official name of the armed forces of Myanmar, on January 29 in the Sagaing region, which shares its border with Nagaland, Manipur, and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
Stating that ULFA-I is confident of overcoming such operations, Baruah said that members of his outfit know the geographical terrain of the Sagaing better than the Myanmar Army. “We are a step ahead of them,” said Baruah nonchalantly.
Baruah is one of the most wanted insurgent leaders of the northeast.
The ULFA-I commander claimed that till now, the outfit has only lost one officer, Major Jyotirmoy Asom, whose body is yet to be recovered. “Tactfully, our soldiers and other officers have moved out from the base camps to safe zones via various secret routes,’ Baruah
The population of the Sagaing region has significantly shot up since 1996 due to illegal infiltration of insurgents.
When asked about the reasons behind such an operation by the Myanmar Army, Baruah said the Tatmadaw is under pressure from the Indian government.
“The Indian government has invested billions of dollars in Myanmar for various developmental projects. Therefore, under Indian pressure, they began the operation to eliminate ULFA-1, NSCN-K and other Manipuri outfits,” he asserted.
However, Baruah maintained that fighting the Myanmar army is against their rules. “The Myanmar Army is not our enemy. We understand their conditions,” he said.
Recalling the successful ‘Operation All Clear’, the military operation launched by the Royal Bhutan Army assisted by the Indian government against Assam separatist groups in Bhutan in 2003, Baruah said that they were snapped by their own members at that time.
“It was a separate incident and some of our officers misled us and helped the Indian government. Thus, we lost the areas and our camps in Bhutan. But, here (Myanmar), our soldiers and officers are capable of handling every situation,’ said Baruah.
According to Baruah, the Myanmar troops have so far captured a camp, arrested four insurgents and recovered weapons and ammunition. However, the Tatmadaw has claimed to have arrested six NSCN (K) members and seized 79 weapons and assorted ammunition.
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