Hill Voice, 5 January 2024, Bandarban: It has been reported that the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) has increased its provocative activities in targeting workers of PCJSS (Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti) in various areas of Ruma and Rowangchari upazilas of Bandarban district and Baratholi Union of Bilaichari upazila of Rangamati district under Rengkhyong Valley. Many have suspected that a vested interest group is instigating behind this matter.
Local sources reported that since the meeting with the army-backed ‘Peace Committee’ headed by chairman of Bandarban Hill District Council, Kyaw Shwe Hla, the reckless activities of KNF terrorists, known as the Bawm Party, have increased. One of the points of consensus in the meeting held on 05 November 2023 between the Peace Committee and the KNF was that the KNF and the Army would not attack each other during the dialogue.
Taking advantage of that opportunity, KNF is now carrying out various harassment activities on Marma, Tripura, Tanchangya, Mro and Khumi villagers, snatching poultry and cattle from villagers without pay and forceful extortion at gunpoint. In particular, it is suspected that they intensified their provocative activities targeting PCJSS workers.
On December 15, 2023, a group of armed members of KNF went towards Saikat Para through Bortholi of Bilaichari. After the Christmas day, the group reportedly left for Mizoram via Barathli through the same route. Meanwhile, they searched for PCJSS workers from the villagers.
Besides, the local villagers faced off with KNF members in Uluchhari area of Bortholi Union. They inquired about the PCJSS workers from the villagers. The KNF members have asked the villagers not to divulge the meeting with them to anyone. Otherwise the KNF terrorists threatened the villagers with dire consequences. At that time, Bawm Party members also took pictures of the villagers.
Then on 18 December 2023, the activities of KNF terrorists were seen in Prangsa and Battali area of Ruma Upazila. Many locals, who did not want to be named, expressed their opinion that this activity of KNF in this area is to target PCJSS members.
On the other hand, on December 31, 2023, armed members of the KNF raided Shukramani Para of Paindu Union of Ruma Upazila. Then they went to Mizoram through Heinggyachara of Rengkhyong crossing the Thega border. At this time, KNF terrorists took 4/5 kg of chicken in exchange of Tk. 300, rice and other daily necessities from the Jum farmers of Shukramani Para.
Recently, on 1-2 January 2024, KNF terrorists at gunpoint extorted money from Chairagra Para of Ruma. Meanwhile, they apprehended Chonu Mong Marma, a journalist of Daily Purbakone and threatened him charging fabricated allegation for involvement with PCJSS’s work.
Sources said that although the PCJSS believes in the principle of peaceful and dialogue-based resolution of the dispute between KNF and PCJSS from the beginning, however, on the contrary, the recent activity of KNF targeting the organizational area of PCJSS is very alarming, many expressed concerns.
Even after informing the army about the terrorist activities, such as, extortion from villagers at gunpoint, forcibly snatching pigs and rice, beating villagers etc., the army continue to play a passive role. So, it ascertains that the army intelligence agency DGFI (Directorate General of Field Intelligence) is involved in this provocative activity of KNF.
It is also learnt that on the occasion of the Christmas day, a volleyball game was held between the Army and KNF members at Munnam Para on 25 December 2023. Currently, KNF members are using Munnam Para like as their headquarters. But the distance from Ruma Army Garrison to Munnam Para is only one kilometer. On the other hand, it is learnt that the KNF members are walking around wearing uniforms at Bethel Para area (Ruma Sadar), which is one kilometer away from the army camp, but the army are pretending not to see the matter.
Besides, many people opined that Islamic militant groups and local Awami League may be behind this provocative activity of KNF. One of the leaders of the KNF, Taluangthan Bawm, was seen addressing Awami League parliamentary candidate Bir Bahadur’s meeting at Saron Para of Ruma in Bandarban recently, which many cited as an example of the relationship between them.
It is reported that KNF’s Self-Style Colonel Vanchunglian Bawm, SS Captain Lalsangrem Bawm, Sangpa Bawm, SS Captain Lianming Bawm, SS Lt. Olive Bawm and SS Sergeant Lamlian Bawm are leading these provocative activities.
One Rifle Tanchangya, a resident of Sippui in Mizoram, is their hired associate. According to reliable sources, KNF armed terrorists with the help of Rifle Tanchangya are carrying out this provocative activity targeting PCJSS members.