Somoy News
What’s behind Kuki-Chin’s recklessness amid peace talks?

What’s behind Kuki-Chin’s recklessness amid peace talks?

Daring daylight bank robberies and firearms snatching by Kuki-Chin separatists in Bandarban amid peace talks with the Bangladeshi government have raised eyebrows, with security analysts calling for prompt, strict steps to quell them. “The security situation in the hill district is worrying. The government must take effective steps against them,” security analyst Brig Gen (retd) M Shakhawat Hossain told Somoy on Wednesday (April 3). He said he was surprised by the way 70–80 armed KNF members attacked the banks and looted them in Ruma and Thanchi on two consecutive days despite the presence of law enforcement agencies. “We have to look for answers,” he said, noting that the failure of intelligence agencies should be investigated. *Threat to sovereignty* Noting the close ties of the KNF group active in Bangladesh with those in India and Myanmar, Sakhawat said their tribe is a small one in Bangladesh. This means it’s not possible to muster this much manpower locally. These separatists have links with armed Kuki Chin militants in Myanmar and India. The Kukis have a dominant position in Mizoram, Manipur and Chin state. They are engaged in armed conflicts against the Indian and Myanmar governments. “Kuki-Chin separatists go across the border for safety whenever Bangladesh cracks down on them. The border areas of the three countries are very familiar to them. Even the central governments of India and Myanmar do not have much control over the region,” the retired army officer said. “The activities of these groups are a threat to the sovereignty of the country,” he said. *Army deployment to quell KNF* He said that after the CHT peace accord, military activities in the region are currently very limited. Police, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and other law enforcement agencies are mainly responsible for maintaining law and order in that area. In view of the current situation, he suggested that the military be given the responsibility to control the law and order in this region. It is not possible to control the security situation in the region depending on the police alone, he noted. Brigadier Sakhawat also suggested monitoring the activities of various foreign organisations working in the hilly areas. The Kuki Chin people of India and Myanmar are also Christians. It is also necessary to look into whether international powers have any agendas in this Christian-dominated area. He also mentioned that it is necessary to look into the activities of various NGOs and their objectives in this regard. *Who are the KNF?* KNF is a secessionist group that has been largely active in Bandarban hill district. It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the region. It wants to carve out a fully autonomous region comprising nine upazilas—Rangamati’s Baghaichari, Barkal, Jurachari and Bilaichari, all the way from the outskirts of Bandarban to the Mro region in Chimbuk hills covering Ruma, Rowangchhari, Thanchi, Lama and Alikadam. Behind the rise of the Kuki Chin National Front is the Bawm community there. Nathan Bom, the leader of the Bawm community, is the head of this organisation. Nathan has been collecting funds in various ways in the name of NGOs. Besides, they have collected a huge amount of money from militant groups to train and shelter their members. *KNF threatens public safety, hill economy* Security analyst Maj Gen (retd) Mohammad Ali Shikder said the number of tribal groups associated with KNF is very small in Bangladesh. They live in areas bordering India and Myanmar. Although their number is low in Bangladesh, they are the majority in many parts of India, Myanmar and even China. “They are carrying out armed operations in many parts of Myanmar and India. But sometimes they cross the border and take shelter in the border area of Bangladesh,” he said. Mentioning that KNF attacked Bangladeshi banks mainly for cash, he said that a lot of money is needed to operate these armed groups. Since they have modern weapons, they attacked these banks located in the hilly areas along the border as easy targets and looted the money. Maj Gen Shikder said the geography makes it difficult to capture these criminals. They can easily cross the border and take refuge in neighbouring countries. The law enforcement agencies of neighbouring countries do not have much control over those border areas. *Red more:* “Kuki-Chin and other armed groups operating in that area are manipulating this geographical advantage,” he said. But overall, the impact of such attacks on the public life of the people in that region is very high. And it will make the people insecure and scared, which will affect the economic activities of the region, Shikder said, recommending better preparedness by the law and order forces to prevent such incidents. “These bank robberies in particular will affect public safety and tourism. As a result, the economic activities there will decline. Besides, if they cannot be suppressed, they will also rob the houses and businesses in that area. Therefore, these activities of Kuki-China are a threat to the safety of public life in that region.”
Published on: 2024-04-03 19:45:16.695074 +0200 CEST