Kuki National Army
The Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and its armed Wing, Kuki National Army (KNA), were formed in 1988. The first batch of the cadres, under the command of Thangkholun Haokip, was trained by the Kachin Independent Army (KIA) in Myanmar.
The main objectives of the KNA is to bring together all the Kuki-inhabited areas separated by artificial boundary created in 1935, specifically in the Kabaw valley of Myanmar and the Kuki inhabited areas in the hill districts of Manipur under one administrative unit called ‘Zalengam’ (Land of freedom). In case of the eventuality of such integration not materializing, the KNA aims at the creation of two Kuki states: one within Burma i.e. ‘Eastern Zalengam’ and the other within India, ‘Western Zalengam’.
The KNA’s relationship with other Kuki and Zomi militant outfits, however, remained hostile. On December 29, 2005, three Kuki militant outfits, the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA), United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF) and the Kuki National Front-Samuel (KNF-S), merged under the banner of the Kuki National Council (KNC) to carry out operations against the KNA. A decision to this effect was announced by the ‘commanding officer’ of the KRA, Maj Max, at Sadar Hills area in Manipur.
In Myanmar, the Kuki National Army waged guerrilla warfare against the Military Junta between 1991 and 1999, mainly targeting patrol parties and also Steamers along the Chindwin River.
P. S. Haokip is the ‘president’ of the KNO and ‘supreme commander’ of the KNA. Anton Kuki is the ‘Home Secretary’. The other senior members are Khaikholun, vice-president for Eastern Zalen-gam, Lalminthang Vaiphei, vice-president for Western Zalengam, S. N. G. Haokip, Public Relations Secretary, Amitabh T. S. Haokip, Defence Secretary, Zalen Kuki, Foreign Secretary, Joshua Haokip, Education and Development Secretary, T. H. German Haokip, Intelligence and Analysis Secretary, Benjamin Paite, Trade and Commerce Secretary, Kamkhenpao Zou, Art and Culture Secretary, Thangboi Karong, Forest and Environment Secretary and Thangsang Hmar, Medical Secretary.
The KNA has an estimated strength of 600 cadres armed with an array of weapons like AK-Series, G-series, M-series and 60mm mortar.
Areas of Operation
KNO/KNA operates in the hill districts of Manipur and adjoining areas in Assam. It also has marginal presence in the Kabaw valley in the Northwest of Myanmar.
The KNA primarily depends on extortion for financing its activities.
The KNO/KNA maintains strategic linkages with the Kachin Independent Organisation/ Kachin Independent Army, the Democratic Alliance of Burma, an alliance of pro-democracy exile organizations and ethnic insurgent organizations in Myanmar and the Federation of Ethnic Nationalities of Burma. It is also known to have close working relationship with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K). Earlier, it maintained links with outfits such as the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and Assam-based United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). However, such linkages have weakened over the years. KNA is also an affiliate of the Indo-Burma Revolutionary Front, an umbrella organization of several militant outfits, including the ULFA, UNLF and the NSCN-K.
KNA has avoided confrontation with the security forces and have made appeals and sent petitions to the Union Government and other high-level officials in New Delhi for fulfilling their objectives. Memoranda submitted to the Government of India since 1995 include:
1. October 2, 1995: Memorandum to P. V. Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister.
2. October 4, 1995: Memorandum to A. B. Vajpayee, Leader of the Opposition.
3. June 17, 1996: Memorandum to H. D. Deve Gowda, Prime Minister.
4. January 27, 1997: Memorandum to K. R. Narayanan, President of India.
5. July 30, 2004: Memorandum to Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister.
On September 22, 2005, the Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee informed in the Manipur capital Imphal that at least eight militant outfits (including the KNA) in Manipur have declared informal ceasefires' with the Union Government. However, on January 31, 2006, the agreement expired.
Note:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.