Imphal, March 27 (IANS) Fifty-two militants belonging to Manipur-based outfit United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) surrendered at an official function in Imphal Tuesday.
The cadres of the outfit laid down their arms and ammunition at a function before Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The function was attended by top brass of the Manipur Police.
"It is a good sign that so many militants have decided to come overground today. Insurgency and law and order condition is one of the biggest challenges of my government and we are committed to ensure lasting peace in the state," said Ibobi Singh.
"We have already taken up the issue of insurgency seriously and some more militant outfits are likely to come over ground very soon," he said. The chief minister, however, did not divulge the names of the outfits.
The tiny northeastern states is one of the worst insurgency hit states in the region with over 30 militant outfits, belonging to various ethnic groups operating in the state.
Sources, however, informed that over 15 militant outfits in Manipur have signed a Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with the state and central government a few days ago.
While the UTLA militants formally surrendered and laid down their arms Tuesday, the rest of the groups are likely to follow suit, the sources said, adding that the government will send the surrendered militants to their designated camps.
"However, the government is also going to monitor the surrendered militants closely to ensure that there is no violation of ground rules like extortion," the sources informed.
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