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Bru National Liberation Front


The Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) is an armed outfit of the Reangs and is currently engaged in negotiations with Mizoram government.

It was formed in 1996 following violent clashes between ethnic Mizos and Reang tribesmen in the Mamith sub-division of Mizoram State. The immediate cause of the conflict was the demand for an Autonomous District Council (ADC) by the Bru National Union (BNU), a political organisation of Reangs that was formed in year 1994. The BNU anchored its demand in the presence of a majority of Reangs in the sub-division, and declared that their rights––political, economic and cultural among others––were not justifiably protected under the prevailing political arrangement.

The Reang Democratic Convention Party (RDCP), another Reang organisation, passed a resolution in this regard. This reportedly provoked Mizo organisations like Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) and Young Mizo Association (YMA)––fearing geographical division of Mizoram––to organise violent attacks, in October 1997, on Reang settlements. As a result, approximately 32,000 Reangs were displaced in the conflict and have since been staying in refugee camps in the Kanchanpur sub-division of the neighbouring Tripura State. The outfit’s cadre strength is estimated to be a little over 100.

Aims & Objectives

The outfit proclaims its primary objective as the protection of rights and dignity of Reangs. The demands put forth by BNLF and its pattern of behaviour exhibit its other aims and objectives as well. BNLF also endeavours to protect the religious identity of Reangs, which it claims to be Hinduism. This is manifested in its vehement opposition to the alleged imposition of Christianity on Reangs. It has also demanded a separate Reang homeland in Mizoram. Subsequently, it transformed its stand and aimed to achieve a separate ADC, and reservation in the Mizoram Legislative Assembly for the community. Besides, it has also taken up with the Mizoram government the issue of repatriation of Reang refugees who had been displaced during the October 1997 ethnic clashes. Only recently, it has agreed to tone down its demand for an ADC and settle for a regional council.


Surajmani Reang and Hmunsiama are 'president' and ‘deputy commander’ respectively of the outfit. Both had managed to escape from the clutches of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) terrorists, who were holding them captive, in January 2001. Thang Masha is another important leader of the outfit. Other leaders of the outfit include A Joseph, ‘advisor’, Solomon Prophul, ‘general secretary’ and S. Bru, the ‘organising secretary’.

The BNLF suffered its worst reverse when the then ‘general secretary’, Hambai Mshoy, and the then ‘army chief’, Sheing Molshoy, were killed in an internecine clash with the NLFT on July 9, 2000, at a camp in Bangladesh.

Area of Operation & Strategy

Areas in which BNLF cadres are active include parts of Mizoram, Tripura and Assam. The areas where the outfit has carried out major attacks include the Mamit and Lunglei districts of Mizoram, the Hailakandi district of Assam and Kanchanpur sub-division of North Tripura district. The BNLF is also known to be operating in the dense forests along the Mizoram-Tripura border. Besides, its hideouts are located in the Bhuban Hills of Cachar district in Assam.

The outfit is involved in selective abduction for ransom, which is a major source of finance for the terrorist group. In this, non-Reangs and Mizo Christians are the primary targets. Besides, the BNLF is also involved in violent attacks not only against non-Reangs, but also against security force personnel. The outfit was also engaged in internecine clashes with other terrorist outfits in the Northeast, like the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). Furthermore, its cadres carry out attacks with modern weapons like AK series assault rifles, grenades and bombs, and are well trained.

The BNLF uses both conventional and guerrilla tactics in its attacks.


BNLF has both inter-organisational as well as external linkages, which it uses to procure arms and train cadres. Among its external linkages, Bangladesh is prominent. Its cadres reportedly run camps and use Bangladeshi soil, particularly the jungles along the international border with India, to house hideouts. This was indicated by Church leaders, who mediated with top BNLF leaders at their hideouts in May 2000 for the release of two Mizoram government employees. The same was stated as early as in 1998 by the then Mizoram Chief Minister, Lalthanhawla. BNLF cadres who had survived the July 2000 internecine clashes with NLFT also confessed that they had hideouts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

In the sphere of establishing and maintaining linkages with other terrorist outfits operating in the Northeast, the BNLF had very close links with the NLFT. It had even signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU), which stipulated, inter alia, that the NLFT would provide arms, ammunition and all every logistic support to the BNLF. Thus, the NLFT helped BNLF grow and gain in strength. This linkage was soured because of the BNLF’s alleged pro-India tilt, its contacts with Indian security forces and for abducting and killing Christian employees and police personnel of Mizoram. Eventually, it culminated in a bloody conflict in which approximately 75 BNLF cadres were killed by NLFT terrorists in a raid on a BNLF camp in Bangladesh. The then president and general secretary of BNLF were also taken hostage, but have now escaped from their captors and have since then surrendered to Indian security forces, as already mentioned. Another bloody conflict occurred between the two outfits on September 3, 2000. 14 BNLF and 10 NLFT cadres were reportedly killed at a Bangladeshi hideout of the NLFT where it had invited BNLF to negotiate the release of their president and general secretary. Following these incidents, the BNLF-NLFT connection ended.

After its NLFT linkage turned sour, the BNLF came into contact with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland- Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM), which obliged the outfit by providing an unspecified number of AK 47 rifles and ammunition. Besides, the BNLF has also maintained contacts with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). This had also been revealed by then Chief Minister of Mizoram, Lalthanhawla, in 1998.

Current Situation

Since September 7, 2001, the BNLF has been engaged in a series of negotiations with the Mizoram Government. However, a solution has not been arrived at even after 11 rounds of negotiations. The 12th round talks, which were to be held in the capital Aizawl on April 29, 2004, were postponed by the State Government citing an ‘unhealthy political atmosphere’ prevailing in Mizoram. In fact, various political parties and community-based organisations have put up a stiff opposition to any sort of arrangement with the BNLF. The points of difference between the two sides relate to determining the number of refugees who would be repatriated from Tripura and the structure and nature of the political arrangement that should to be put in place after the returning refugees are rehabilitated.

While the BNLF contends that the number of Reangs awaiting repatriation is more than 32,000, the Mizoram Government holds that it is no more than a little over 10,000. On the kind of political arrangement that should follow, the BNLF has toned down its demand for an autonomous district council and is willing to negotiate for something less, a regional council. The Mizoram Government has refused to grant thus far any separate autonomous governing body for the Reangs. Moreover, it is also not ready to accept the BNLF’s demand that the Union Government should be involved in the ongoing peace talks. The State Government has also demanded that the BNLF cadres should surrender if a lasting solution were to be found and peace restored in the region.

On May 17, 2004, Home Minister, Twanluia, informed the State Legislative Assembly that an accord between the Mizoram Government and BNLF is to be signed in June. Subsequently, on May 26, State Chief Secretary, H. V. Lalringa, informed that the Mizoram Government has endorsed the draft proposals for laying down of arms by the BNLF cadres and repatriation of Bru refugees lodged in the Tripura relief camps. However, there has been no subsequent progress in this front.


Beginning its inception, it has led several violent attacks against ethnic Mizos as well as security force personnel.


  • April 4: SFs arrested five militants belonging to BNLF, from Baigunchherra in North Tripura District. The militants were identified as Pradip Piter (28), Juam Jhara Bru (28), Psamani Bru (28), Routijoy Reang (26) and Karanjoy Reang (22). SFs recovered two locally made guns, one pistol and two revolvers from them.


  • January 17: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Mizoram Police arrested two militants who were involved in the November 13, 2009 killing of a Mizo youth, Zarzokima (18) of Bungthuam. They were identified as Vanlalfela and Chusarai alias Lalrinfela. One seal bearing a 'logo' of the United Liberation Army (ULA) outfit and donation receipt were recovered from their possession. Mizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana said that ULA was involved in extorting money at areas of Tripura and Assam bordering Mizoram. He said, "They had even kidnapped businessmen from the plain areas for ransom". The report adds that Vanlalfela was a cadre of the BNLF and was involved in various crimes. Due to internal rivalry and tensions, Vanlalfela left the BNLF in 2005 and became a cadre of the Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM). He, along with 20 other BLFM cadres, refused to surrender when 802 strong cadres of the BLFM surrendered in 2006, the Mizoram Police said. Chisurai joined the BLFM in 2006. He confessed that at least 13 Bru militants are still hiding at a Dima Halim Daogah (DHD) designated camp in Harangajau of North Cachar Hills District, the Police said.


  • April 9: Mizoram Government officials led by the Chief Secretary Haukhum Hauzel hold talks with officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on various aspects of the resettlement of 950 former cadres of the BNLF and the BLFM. The MHA officials reportedly promised to take up the problems faced by Mizoram while providing health care, education, communication and supply of drinking water to the former militants who are resettled in the Mamit district.


  • March 17: Police personnel kill a hardcore militant of the BNLF, Jaingba Reang, in an encounter at Dhalaicherra in the Mizoram-Tripura border area. However, four other militants managed to escape from the encounter site.

  • February 14: Three truck drivers from Assam's Cachar district and a sub-contractor from the Kolasib district of Mizoram are abducted by suspected BNLF cadres in two separate incidents.


  • August 23: The 'general secretary' of the BNLF, Solomon Prophul Ushoy, claims that Bru tribals at refugee camps in Tripura, who are awaiting repatriation to Mizoram, receive extortion threats from the BLFM. He says, "We are worried about our family. On August 4, we had received an extortion letter from the BLFM demanding Rupees Five lakh. Since we have no money to give to them, we are afraid these people would take action against our family members most of whom are still in Tripura in refugee camps." Ushoy says that the Government should segregate family members of the BNLF and BLFM while repatriating the refugees in order to isolate the BLFM cadres. He also asks the State Government to expedite the repatriation of their family members from the Tripura camps.

  • July 26: The BNLF asks for more aid for the Bru community pointing out that they form one of the most backward tribal communities, with a literacy rate of approximately 10 per cent. BNLF chief Surjyamoni Reang said at the Tuipuibari transit camp, where the outfit laid down its arms, he was hopeful that aspirations of the Brus would be respected and also that the Mizoram and Union Governments would provide them adequate development.

  • July 25: At least 195 BNLF militants, including the outfit’s president Surjya Moni Reang and general secretary Solomon Prophul Ushoy, surrender before the Mizoram Home Minister Tawnluia at the Sidan transit camp in West Tuipuibari. Apart from 195 militants, 62 of their family members also surrender. The arms deposited include two self-loading rifles, two AK-56 UMG, two Chinese rifles, one AK-47 rifle, one US made M 16 rifle and two .303 rifles. Additionally, the militants also hand over a binocular, one radio set and 661 rounds of ammunition.

  • July 18: BLFM demands separate talks with the Mizoram Government and threatens not to surrender arms. The outfit expresses its unwillingness to lay down arms with the BNLF, which has recently signed a cease-fire agreement with the Government. Mizoram Government, however, denies possibility of holding another round of peace talks.

  • May 3: BNLF ‘commander-in-chief’, Surajmani Reang, says that he has already submitted the list of arms and ammunition to the Mizoram home department.

  • April 26: BNLF, which signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mizoram Government, promises to lay down all arms and ammunition within the next two months.

  • April 26: Mizoram Government and BNLF sign a MoU. The MoU is expected to facilitate the repatriation of Bru refugees staying in six relief camps in the neighbouring North Tripura district. According to provisions of the MoU, the BNLF cadres will surrender along with arms and come over-ground.

  • April 26: The Mizoram Government and BNLF, at the conclusion of the 13th round of talks, agree to sign a peace agreement. Apart from the BNLF, another outfit, the BLFM has also participated in the negotiations.

  • April 3: The student body MZP announces that it will boycott the negotiation process between the BNLF and the Mizoram Government in protest against the outfit’s kidnapping a student ahead of the crucial round of negotiations later this month. A MZP statement says that, Lalrinawma, a student of the Kanhmun High School, is kidnapped by the BNLF on March 29. The kidnappers, who claim to be members of a faction of the NSCN, reportedly release the student in return for a ransom amount of Rupees 25,000 on March 30. The BNLF leader Bruto Meshka, however, denies his outfit’s involvement in the kidnapping.

  • March 29: Mizoram Government and BNLF are scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on April 6, following 12 rounds of peace talks. The outfit’s chief, Surjyamani Reang, says: "We are ready to sign the accord, but need definite assurances on crucial points to pave the way for surrender of arms and ammunition by the rank and file of our outfit." He also says that the Bru refugees from camps in North Tripura district need to be accommodated in resettlement centers for their safety and security with one-year ration provision for each family.

  • March 11: The 12th round of negotiations between the Mizoram Government and BNLF is concluded. According to official sources, both sides were able to finalise a draft agreement for the repatriation of the Bru refugees to be signed in April.

  • March 5: BNLF enters into an agreement with the NLFT to carry out joint attacks during elections to the Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous District Council.


  • November 28: A tribal girl is killed in crossfire between security forces and BNLF militants near Tharma village in North Tripura district of Tripura.

  • October 24: Mizoram Government finalises a peace agreement with the BNLF, following the 11th round of peace talks last week. A senior government official said, "The peace formula covers repatriation of the refugees as well as proper rehabilitation of both refugees and BNLF cadres." A formal peace agreement in this effect will be reportedly signed by both the parties once the Union Government sanctions the funds required to implement the peace package.

  • September 19: Eighteen BNLF militants are arrested from Satkarakhal Punji under Dholai police station limits in the Cachar district of Assam.

  • August 31: Three contractors and an engineer, abducted on August 23 by the BNLF, from Kulicherra hamlet in the Cachar district of Assam are released at an unspecified place following the payment of a ransom amount ranging between Rupees 14 lakh and Rupees 18 lakh.

  • August 23: Four persons, including three contractors, are abducted by suspected BNLF cadres from the Cachar district in Assam.
  • March 5: Six BNLF terrorists, including a 'sergeant' and a 'corporal', surrender before the Mizoram Police at Tuipuibari in the Mamit district.

  • January 17: Five BNLF terrorists are arrested from a relief camp for the Bru tribals at Gachhirampara under Kanchanpur subdivision in the North Tripura district.


  • July 11: Eighth round of peace talks between the Mizoram Government and the BNLF ends inconclusively in Aizawl.

  • July 7: Mizoram Government alleges that funds provided by the Union Government to Tripura for basic amenities to Bru refugees staying in six camps in North Tripura district were being stashed away to the BNLF.

  • June 9: BNLF terrorists release three persons, whom they had abducted earlier on June 6 from the Mualthuam area of Mamit district reportedly after a ransom of Rupees 3,000 was paid to them.

  • June 9: BNLF terrorists release three persons, whom they had abducted earlier on June 6 from the Mualthuam area of Mamit district, reportedly after a ransom of Rupees 3000 was paid to them.

  • May 1: Mizoram Government alleges that Tripura is supporting the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF).


  • November 21: BNLF spokesperson Chandramani Molsoy says the outfit is unwilling to participate in the 8th round of talks with the government, scheduled for December 2002.

  • November 20: Mizoram Home Minister Tawnluia says in the State Legislative Assembly, in Aizwal, there is no deadlock in the talks with the BNLF.
  • October 17: Seventh round of BNLF-Mizoram government talks in Aizawl remains inconclusive.

  • September 26: The seventh round of Mizoram- Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) talks are deferred.

  • September 22: Two BNLF terrorists are killed in an encounter in the Ratabari block (administrative unit) of Karimganj district, Assam.

  • August 23: BNLF drops the demand for Autonomous Regional Council at the sixth round of talks, in Aizwal, with the Mizoram government, and asks for a Development Council, instead

  • May 23: Fifth round of talks held between Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) and Mizoram government to resolve Reang issue. The talks end inconclusively.
  • April 30: Thang Masha, BNLF president, declares through a memorandum that the outfit is ready to negotiate for a regional council, instead of an Autonomous District Council (ADC)
  • March 1: Talks between the government and the BNLF resume. No agreement could be reached at the end of the talks.
  • February 28: BNLF and Mizoram government resume talks in Aizwal. The same to be continued on March 1.
  • January 17: BNLF declares that its cadres would surrender if government concedes to its demand and includes rehabilitation of Reang refugees.


  • September 8: First round of talks starts between BNLF delegation and State government.
  • August 11: BNLF terrorist killed in raid by security forces on its hideout in Bhuban Hills in Cachar district in Assam.
  • July 15: Mizoram government declares that talks with the BNLF would be bilateral.
  • March 12: Mizoram Home Minister states that the government was ready for peace talks with BNLF.

  • February 18: Reports say Surjo Moni and Hmunsiama, the president and ‘deputy commander’ respectively of BNLF, taken hostage by NLFT on July 9, 2000 escaped from their captivity.

  • February 16: BNLF terrorists asked to surrender by Mizoram government.


  • November 19: BNLF’s hand suspected in the Borahaldi carnage that claimed 14 lives.

  • September 3: 14 BNLF terrorists killed in an internecine clash with the NLFT at the latter’s Thangnan base camp in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. BNLF also kills 10 NLFT terrorists in retaliation.
  • July 12: Three BNLF terrorists arrested along the Mizoram-Assam border.
  • July 9: 75 BNLF cadres massacred by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) terrorists at one of their hideouts in Bangladesh. The NLFT also takes hostage Surjo Moni and Hmunsiama, the president and ‘deputy commander’ respectively of the BNLF.

  • June 30: Suspected BNLF terrorists kill seven members of the anti-terrorist Hunter Force of Mizoram Police and injure four others injured in an ambush along the India-Bangladesh border in Mamit district.

  • May 16: BNLF sets free two employees abducted on April 15.
  • April 19: Suspected BNLF terrorists abduct school teacher near a village along the Mizoram-Tripura border.
  • April 15: BNLF terrorists abduct two Mizoram State government employees from Saithah village.


  • September 23: Suspected BNLF terrorists set off a bomb blast near Zawlpui hamlet in Lunglei district. No one was injured in the attack that was possibly meant to target a moving jeep carrying government personnel proceeding on election duty.


  • October 21: BNLF kills a wildlife game watcher of the Mizoram government near Persang village.

  • BNLF founded.





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