KNF trains militants in exchange for Tk 3 lakh a month: RAB

NEWS DESK

The Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), a separatist organisation in the Chattogram Hill Tracts, made a deal with the militant group “Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya to provide housing and training in exchange for money.

They gave the militants combat training in exchange for a Tk 3 lakh monthly fee and expenditure for food, according to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which made the announcement at a press conference on Friday (21 October).

Meanwhile, the RAB has arrested 10 people, including militants and separatists, after raiding various areas in Bandarban and Rangamati districts on Thursday.

Seven of the arrestees are members of “Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya and three are from a separatist organisation in the hill tracts.

They were found to be in possession of a sizable amount of weapons and ammunition.

The arrests happened at a time when security concerns about alleged ties between militant Islamists and tribal separatists were growing.

During interrogation, the three suspected separatists confessed that the chief of Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya developed a relationship with the founder of the KNF, Nathan Bawm, in 2021, the RAB official said in the press briefing.

They later reached an agreement under which the separatists, seeking to create an autonomous state in the hill tracts, would train the militants until 2023.

After the recent arrests of a dozen suspected Islamist militants, including several runaway youths, the RAB said they belonged to a new group called Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, formed by former members of banned militant outfits.

Citing the arrestees, the RAB also said dozens of runaway youths were taking training in the hill tracts with the help of the separatists.

Later on October 10, local administrations made Ruma and Roangchhari in Bandarban off-limits to tourists due to security risks after the RAB launched its operation.

The KNF is a relatively new organisation in the hill tracts.

Although it was formed under the initiative of a section of the Bawm ethnic community in Bandarban, they claim to have represented six ethnic minorities of the hill tracts.

The organisation came to limelight after it demanded a separate state with Baghaichhari, Barkal, Jurachhari, Bilaichhari, Rowangchhari, Ruma, Thanchi, Lama, and Alikadam upazilas of Rangamati and Bandarban through its Facebook page.

They claim to represent six ethnic groups—Bawm, Pankhwa, Lusai, Khiang, Mro, and Khumi.

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