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'Philippines expert, LTTE cadres trained Indian Maoists'

'Philippines expert, LTTE cadres trained Indian Maoists'

Author: Vivek Deshpande
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: December 8, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/philippines-expert-ltte-cadres-trained-ind/551406/

Maoist groups in India have been known to collaborate with their counterparts across the border in Nepal and also occasionally with sympathisers elsewhere in South Asia but a senior Naxal leader who surrendered in Maharashtra last week has claimed that a warfare expert from the Philippines visited and stayed in a Bastar Naxal camp in Abujmad for about a month to train cadres, indicating the global reach of the extremist movement.

"It was way back in 2001 that a man from the Philippines had come to train us in south Bastar," Naxal leader Rainu told The Indian Express. "Also, two LTTE men had come twice for the same purpose," he added.

One of the three tribal members in the 22-member Andhra cadre-dominated Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee created in 2007 to oversee activities in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, Rainu laid down arms saying he had had enough of what he called the romantic Naxal mirage of liberation after 22 years in the movement.

The Philippines has its own Maoist insurgent movement which operates under the banner of the New People's Army. But Rainu's claim has raised questions among security agencies of how a Filipino could manage to find his way to a Naxal camp in India.

"It is not very difficult for LTTE men to pass off as Indians, but how the Naxals managed a safe passage for a Filipino into territory where even the police can't go, and back, is very curious," said a security official who did not want to be named.

"For one month, the Filipino taught us how to carry out a mass attack. The LTTE men taught us how to lay mines and handle grenades," said Rainu, who is alleged to have been part of the 2003 police ambush in Kumarguda near Bhamragarh in Gadchiroli in which five policemen were killed, and another one in Fulbodigatta in 2005 that claimed four policemen.

"As against popular understanding that the Nepal Maoists have a smooth relationship with their Indian counterparts, the fact is that the relationship has been marred by the latter's move of participating in elections there," he added.

"Ten years ago, the Central Committee members (of the CPI-Maoist) had personally trained in warfare tactics in Nepal," Rainu said, adding that the Maoists got their first AK-47 as long back as in 1988.

"While some of the arms have been purchased, most have been seized in police ambushes. A huge cache of arms such as AK rifles, SLRs, LMGs, Insas rifles and two-inch mortar is generally recovered from the ambush spot," he said.

Rainu said that Naxals continue to change their strategies based on previous experience, and have got advanced training in warfare. "That is one reason why Naxal casualties are generally low," he said. For instance, the highest recorded Naxal casualties, he says, were 17 deaths in an encounter in Konta in south Bastar last year.

At Rani Bodli police station in Bijapur district of Bastar, where Naxals had carried out the biggest attack in history killing 55 policemen in a late night swoop, the insurgents lost seven men after a policeman hiding in the bushes opened fire while the Naxals were coming out raising slogans in jubilation, according to Rainu.

In various incidents in Maharashtra, in which over 50 policemen have been killed this year, only one Naxal, Mangesh, was killed in Lahiri, he said. Funds, he said, come from public works, bamboo and tendu contractors, as also from tribals who contribute to the "party fund".

"Bamboo activity fetches crores of rupees annually," he said.


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