Kuki Liberation Army
The Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) was formed under the leadership of Paozangam Letkholun sometime in 1992. He was shot dead by the security forces in an encounter at Chaningpokpi village in the Imphal East district on June 4, 2003.
The Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) claims to be fighting for an independent Kukiland or a separate Kuki state.
Leadership and Cadre
KLA’s history has been sewn with several instances of inter and intra group rivalry precipitating several changes in its leadership.
The group was headed by Paozangam Letkholun Khongsai till his killing on June 4, 2003, by a cadre of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA).
‘Publicity secretary’ Mosaun Kuki killed the group’s ‘deputy commander’ Thunder Kuki, his wife and his deputy, identified as Kingson, in the Thoubal district on the night of July 24, 2007, and took over the leadership of the outfit. Mosaun Kuki reportedly claimed success in his revolt against Thunder’s leadership of the KLA and also declared its headquarters at the same location as under the leadership of Thunder. Earlier, on May 29, 2007, Thunder Kuki, who was then deputy chief of the outfit, had decamped from the KLA headquarters at Bongjang after killing the then ‘commander-in-chief’, Letkholun Lupheng, along with five others.
On September 25, Sangai Express reported that the 'central cabinet committee' of the KLA has re-organised its armed and administrative wings. According to a statement signed by Armstrong Kuki, the 'information and publicity secretary' of the outfit, Gaulien alias Stephen Kuki is appointed as 'commander-in-chief' and Khaikam alias T.K. Kuki as 'deputy commander-in-chief'. The statement also mentions that J. Jeniffer Haokip is appointed as 'administrative secretary', Simon Singson as 'headquarters public relations officer', Ngambom Kuki as 'chief finance in-charge' of Imphal East and Imphal West districts, Armstrong Gangte as 'secretary information and publicity', Galngam Kuki as 'project officer', T.L. Isaac as 'division-I finance in-charge' of Sadar Hills, Senapati and Ukhrul districts, J. Singson as 'division-II finance in-charge' of Churchandpur, Bishnupur and Tamenglong districts and Helun Brandon as 'division-III finance in-charge' of Chandel, Moreh and Thoubal districts.
On August 28, 2007 the KLA announced the name of its new office bearers. Robinson Kuki was appointed as the headquarters in-charge, Philip Kuki as the finance in-charge (Imphal East), Arjun Kuki as Imphal West district in-charge, Eagle Kuki in charge of Churachandpur Division and Paulneo Kuki in charge of the Kangpokpi area. Addy Kuki is the information and publicity secretary of the outfit.
A June 23, 2007, report in E-Pao quoting the KLA ‘information and publicity secretary’ Malsawm Kuki stated that group has appointed Elwin/Hangsai Kuki as its ‘finance secretary’ and Milan/Jack Meitei as its ‘project officer’.
The group’s cadre strength is not known although reports indicate that it is a relatively small group compared to other Kuki militant groups.
Areas of Operation and Headquarters
KLA operates in parts of the Ukhrul, Senapati and Thoubal districts.
The group has its headquarters at Bongjang in the Saikhul sub-division of Senapati district.
The KLA’s funding is largely sourced from extortion and collection of 'protection fees' in its areas of operation.
The outfit allegedly has close links with the Nagaland-based NSCN-IM.
Note:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.