Kuki National Front
Kuki National Front (KNF) was formed under the leadership of Ranco Thangboi Kuki on May 18, 1988 primarily to counter the National Socialist Council of Nagaland- Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) hegemony in the Kuki-inhabited areas.
The primary objective is to secure a separate State or Union Territory for the Kuki community and the unification of all scattered Kukis in the new homeland, 'Kukiland'.
The KNF split in 1995, with one unit identifying itself as the "presidential faction" and the other as the "military council". The former again split into KNF (Samuel faction) and KNF (Zougam faction).
KNF (Presidential faction) remains the most powerful of all the factions and has claimed to be the 'real KNF'. Thangboi Kipgen is the 'President' while L.H. Stephen is the 'Information and Publicity Secretary'. Its 'defense secretary' Hengkhotinmong alias Mangboi Kipgen was killed in an encounter with the Manipur Police at Kangchup in the Imphal West district on December 21, 2005.
The total cadre strength of the outfit
(inclusive of all factions) is estimated to be between 400 and 500.
Areas of Operation
KNF operates extensively in the Churachandpur district. It also operates in other Kuki inhibited areas of the Chandel, Tamenglong and Senapati districts.
Source of Funding
The KNF funds its activities primarily through extortion and collection of 'protection fees' from the civilians in its areas of operation. 'Sergeant' Max Kuki reportedly heads its financial-related matters in the Sadar Hills areas of Manipur that comes under Division I, while Division II concerning Moreh and surrounding areas of the Chandel district is under the purview of 'Sergeant' Galngam. Division III covering Imphal and surrounding areas is under the charge of one Romel Kuki.
Linkages with Other Groups
Besides having links with several Kuki militant groups, the outfit maintains close ties with several valley-based outfits like the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and People's Liberation Army (PLA). It is also said to have links with the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K). Unspecified reports state that about 300 KNF recruits had undergone training in Kachin Independence Army (KIA) camps in Myanmar.
Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.