A glimpse inside the operations of Kuki-Chin National Front


In the remote forests of Bandarban, the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), a militant group linked to a series of recent bank robberies, operates with more than four hundred armed members. Their arsenal includes over three hundred weapons, ranging from submachine guns and Chinese rifles to AK-47s and Burmese single-barrel guns. The militants have carved out strongholds deep in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, extending their reach along the borders with Myanmar and Mizoram, India.

Formed in 2022 by Nathan Bawm, the KNF has quickly risen to prominence as a formidable force within the Bandarban region. Initially engaging in kidnapping and extortion to fund its operations, the group has since advanced to trading arms training for financial gain, significantly expanding its influence.

Previously, the KNF’s activities were largely confined to secluded parts of the Bandarban Hill District. The group has participated in peace talks on two occasions, each time pledging to reintegrate into civil society. However, these negotiations appear to have facilitated their infiltration into various local communities, enabling them to coordinate attacks on three banks simultaneously, which has significantly shaken the local administration.

Recent operations by joint forces over the last four days have led to the detention of at least 60 suspects linked to the KNF in Ruma and Thanchi. Following these operations, extensive investigations have exposed a comprehensive organizational structure of the militant group.

KNF’s leadership remains under Nathan Bawm, who also goes by the aliases Nobel and Chinlung. He continues to oversee the group’s activities, assisted by Brigadier Bhan Chung Lian, known as VPI, who acts as Chief of Staff and allegedly plans their robbery operations. Both leaders currently operate from positions near the Mizoram border.

Notably, recent assaults on banks in Ruma and Thanchi have seen the involvement of female KNF members, prompting a focused investigation by law enforcement into determining their extent of roles within the militant operations.

DIG Noor E Alam Mina of the Chittagong Range Police stated, “We are in the midst of a thorough investigation into the total membership of the organization. Decisive actions will be based on the comprehensive findings of this ongoing inquiry.”

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