Sep 13, 2008

Naga: Football Match Among Naga to Push Peace Drive

Churches and Naga civil society organisations are organising a friendly football match among rival underground groups on October 9 2008.
Below is an article published by Zeenews
Carrying forward the on-going peace and re-conciliation process in Naga society, churches and the organisations representing the Naga civil society are organising a friendly football match among rival underground groups here on October 9.

Forum for Naga Re-conciliation, which has initiated the latest round of peace move amidst heightened bloody fighting among rival underground factions, is also organizing a Naga re-conciliation meeting on September 25 at Sumi Baptist Church, Dimapur and invited all Naga tribal councils to the deliberation, a forum spokesman told reporters today.

Naga Baptist Church Council (NBCC), a part of the forum, is hosting the football match where a team comprising members from Naga civil societies, churches, tribal council under the banner of Naga Hoho (apex council) will be pitted against a combined squad of underground groups.

According to officials of Naga Hoho, a part of the Forum, the rival underground groups agreed to play the proposed friendly match after being persuaded by the Forum as part of its re-conciliation initiative.

On Tuesday, 21 members, including senior leaders, from rival underground factions met at a Dimapur Church to further carry forward the process of re-conciliation which began at Chiang Mai in Thailand.

The peace and re-conciliation process began in April this year at the initiative of Forum for Naga Re-conciliation, comprising Church leaders and representatives of civil societies and tribal councils, at the height of factional clashes.

In the third meeting held in August in Chiang Mai, Thailand, leaders from different factions expressed commitment to strengthen and consolidate the re-conciliation process respecting the sentiments of Naga people.

According to a Forum statement, the Dimapur meeting was a follow-up deliberation of Chiang Mai meet and it successfully convinced the underground leaders to agree to a cease-fire among the warring Naga groups.

Although both groups of NSCN had signed cease-fire separately with the Centre, Nagaland government, churches and NGOs have been calling upon the warring factions to declare truce among them.

Insisting on a united voice among the Nagas for finding a permanent solution to the protracted conflict, CLP leader Chingwang Konyak in a statement today hoped the Forum's initiative would pave the way for understanding and re-conciliation among the rival groups.

Over a hundred people, including civilians, were killed in the past couple of months in and around Dimapur alone in the turf war between rival NSCN groups.