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Myanmar launches crackdown on India

Myanmar launches crackdown on Indian rebel camps

AFP, Guwahati, 1 November 2000. The Myanmar army has
launched a crackdown on Indian separatist guerrillas holed
up inside the country, rebel leaders said Wednesday.

The outlawed National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)
said one of its training camps located inside Myanmar had
been torched by government troops.

The NSCN is fighting for an independent tribal homeland in India's
northeastern state of Nagaland, bordering Myanmar.

"Myanmarese troops have launched an offensive since October 15
against us," Kitovi Zhimomi, the self-styled "prime minister" of the
NSCN, told AFP by telephone from his hideout somewhere in Nagaland.

"We have shown the utmost restraint and have not retaliated as the
Myanmarese troops would indulge in indiscriminate harassment of the
common Naga people living there if we do so," Zhimoni said.

Myanmar troops on October 25 shot dead five Indian frontier guards
along the border.

Myanmar later apologized, saying the troops had mistaken the guards
  for Indian separatist guerrillas.

Zhimoni said thousands of Christian Naga people had fled across the
border into India last month, alleging persecution by the military junta.

The Naga people, mostly from villages in the Sagaing district of northern
Myanmar, crossed into Nagaland's Mon district "as their houses were set
ablaze," the NSCN leader said.

"There has been large scale torture of the Nagas, forcing many of them to
desert their villages and take shelter either in the jungles or in parts of 

There are an estimated 20,000 Naga people in Myanmar.

Church leaders said the Naga Christians had been forced to close down
their churches, which had then been desecrated or used as kitchens by
the Myanmar army.