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Jun 13, 2013 at 09:22am IST

Manipur teens being abducted, trained for war by a banned rebel outfit

Imphal: Three months after two teenaged girls went missing in Manipur, they were spotted at a training camp in Myanmar. The two girls - one 14 and another 15 - were being trained by Manipur's banned rebel outfit Revolutionary People's Front.

These children are being trained for war. A verified video of a Revolutionary People's Front training camp in Myanmar shows the child soldiers of the North-East.

In March 2013, 15 year-old Sanahanbi left home without a trace. Her mother is still in grief. Khaidem Sana said, "I miss her. I don't know what to do."

Banned militant outfit Revolutionary People's Front has informed her that Sanahanbi has joined them voluntarily. She and her daughters clutch to memories, clueless how to get Sanahanbi back. Sanahanbi's sister said, "I want to tell her, please come back."

The same day 14 year-old-girl Alice Kamei also went missing. Alice's mother Sundari said, "The RPF called me and assured me not to worry. My daughter told me she wants to come back."

A video showing child soldiers training at a rebel camp in Myanmar, clearly suggests the practice is common. The Revolutionary People's Front, too, admits to recruiting young cadres.

Their response on Sanahanbi and Alice: The girls are not being trained. Their recruitment was due to miscommunication. Kids below 16 are not given guerrilla training or sent to war. Children aged 16 to 18 are under RPF's education department.

Manipur DGP Y Joykumar Singh said, "They have been taken outside India and the information we have is that they are likely to be in Myanmar."

At Grace Academy, where Alice and Shahanabi studied, there is an underlying tension. There are at least 50 militant outfits in Manipur and this is not the first time children have been abducted by armed groups. Yet, there is no coordination between Imphal and Delhi to secure their release.