Nagaland police cracks Piphema case, 3 held, culprits identified
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 08: In a significant breakthrough, Nagaland Police have identified five persons and arrested three members of a gang involved in the looting of two Imphal bound trucks and three tourist buses at Piphema near Kohima on September 5 early morning.

Two girls aboard one bus were also molested by the armed gangs.

While one of the gang members identified as Bumche Limbu was arrested on September 6, the other two identified as Kezhlezo Nakhro S/o (L) Kesokhou of Piphema village and Niekephozo Vero S/o (L) Zavitso Vero of Kikruma village of Phek district and presently staying at Piphema were arrested today by Dimapur police from Piphema.

The other gang members are identified as Medoneizo and Keheselie.

According to Dimapur police, Kezhelezo Nakhro and Niekhepozo Vero were arrested by a team of Dimapur police led by SDPO K Sophie today from Piphema village.

The two were handed over to the police by the Piphema Village Council.

As the DGP of Nagaland Hesso Mao was in Delhi to attend a conference, the message sent by the State DGP S Bimalchandra was received and acknowledged by the Additional DGP (Ops) J Changkija.

Replying to the State DGP, the ADG of Nagaland, said that Medoneizo, Keheselie, Neikephozo, Bumche Limbu and Kezhlezo have been identified as the main culprits behind the incident.

Of the five, Bumche Limbu has been arrested, asserted the ADGP in his message.

He was arrested on September 6 by personnel of Medziphema Police under Dimapur district.

Limbu, believed to be a former cadre of NSCN (IM) was earlier arrested and detained under NSA for the last one year and has been recently released, added Changkija.

The ADGP expressed confidence that all other involved in the crime will be arrested soon.

Regarding the incident, Changkija in his message acknowledged the crime did occur at around 1.30 am and that 6/7 gunmen armed with AK 47s and small arms were involved in it.

He, however, refuted the report that two passengers were raped but admitted that the miscreants tried to drag down a female passenger.

When the girls and co-passengers resisted fiercely the miscreants left the scene.

One constable of DBF Kohima Phyphio Lotha was also on board the bus when the masked armed men committed the crime, Changkija added further.

On lack of security on the National Highway, the police officer said that due to mounting presence of underground activists in Zunheboto district and economic blockade imposed by NSCN (K) highway patrol at Kohima-Dimapur route were kept at the minimal.

Assuring re-deployment of security of NH-39, Changkija said all passenger buses and goods trucks will be prevented from crossing Chumukedima police check-post till 4 am to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

Nagaland police managed to crack the case when they arrested Bumche Limbu on the basis of a complaint filed by one resident of Piphema Town on September 5.The complaint was filed by a gentleman identified as Phekruvito Kuopsu.

In the complaint the gentleman said that he and his son were assaulted by Limbu on September 5.The Medziphema police took up the case and Limbu was arrested.

It was during the course of the interrogation that his involvement in the looting and sexual molestation of the women came to light.

The identities of the other gang members Could also be known through his confession.

This gang has been active at the area for the last many years and it was only as recently as December last year that Assam Rifles personnel had gunned down a member of the gang.

It has also come to light that the gang members spoke not in Hindi and Nagamese during the September 5 incident but in Angami.

Dimapur police said the two persons arrested today have confessed to their involvement and during preliminary investigations the two disclosed that the guns they used were fake ones.

However the police are yet to be convinced and continuing further interrogation.

Police are also hopeful of recovering the looted goods and articles soon as the gang members could not have disposed off the same within this Short time.

Taking serious note of the looting of goods and the molestation of two Tangkhul women, the NSCN (IM) said that the very act perpetrated by the armed men was inhuman.

In a statement, the Naga underground outfit said that, Tangkhuls have been warned by some organized gangs to leave Nagaland and added that the community has been unduly victimized by this gang.

Picking out two Tangkhul women and sexually harassing them is an insult not only to the Tangkhul community but also to womankind.

Meanwhile, DGP, Manipur S Bimalchandra addressing media-persons today at 1st MR banquet hall, said as soon local papers flashed the report, he talked to Nagaland ADGP on the matter, as his counterpart was at the national capital.

He also rushed a State police, team to Kohima led by DIG (Ops) D Mishra and 2 IRB Commanding Officer Dhanakumar who were informed of the arrest and identification of the accused.

Bimalchandra and IG (LO) A Romenkumar asserted that since the incident took place in Nagaland, Manipur police could do little and that due to denial of rape charge by the victim herself DO case could be pursued, They, however, disclosed that State intelligence force is studying the issue minutely and any available development will be furnished to the public.

In view of the bandh call security has been tightened and according to Mao police, 60 goods loaded trucks and 11 tourist buses had crossed.

Mao today while 20 passed the same place towards Dimapur, the DGP added.