2 Police commandos shot dead in Manipur gunfight | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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2 Police commandos shot dead in Manipur gunfight

By, Guwahati
Jan 18, 2024 05:07 AM IST

The Manipur government has sought a helicopter from the Union home ministry to airlift security personnel and ammunition to Moreh, where the attack took place.

Armed militants on Wednesday shot dead two police commandos and injured five others in a fresh attack on security forces in the border town of Moreh, officials confirmed, marking the 6th attack on personnel this month in the restive state where more than 200 people have died in ethnic clashes that began last May.

Security personnel carry mortal remains of policeman Wangkhem Somorjit, who sustained gunshot wounds in a militant attack and succumbed to injuries during treatment, in Manipur, on Wednesday. (PTI)
Security personnel carry mortal remains of policeman Wangkhem Somorjit, who sustained gunshot wounds in a militant attack and succumbed to injuries during treatment, in Manipur, on Wednesday. (PTI)

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Officials said the firing on men from the Manipur Police, Assam Rifles and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), started around 3:30 am on Wednesday. The unidentified militants lobbed bombs, fired bullets at a security post and rocket propelled gun (RPG) shells.

“Two police commandoes have been killed and five others sustained injuries in the attacks. The situation in Moreh continues to remain tense,” Rahuil Gupta, superintendent of police, Tengnoupal, said over the phone.

The deceased were identified as W Somorjit and Takhelambam Saileshwor.

Due to the deteriorating law and order situation in the district, where total curfew was imposed from Tuesday, the Manipur government sought a helicopter from the Union home ministry to airlift security personnel and ammunition to Moreh.

Also Read: Amid the violence, a search for Manipur’s missing

“The law-and-order situation at the border town of Moreh has become a matter of serious concern as there has been continuous exchange of fire taking place and this has resulted in the death of one IRB [India Reserve Batallion] personnel this morning,” said a letter from the state government to the Union home ministry.

“In view of the prevalent situation, the situation may deteriorate further in Moreh (and) medical emergency may arise anytime. Police department informed that there is need for airlifting of security personnel, ammunition etc to Moreh,” added the letter written by T Ranjit Singh, commissioner (home), to the additional secretary, police-II division of MHA.

The letter requested that a helicopter be placed at Imphal from Wednesday for at least seven days to meet “emergency requirements”.

Moreh sits on the international border between India and Myanmar and has long been notorious for smuggling of arms, drugs and movement of cadres from terror groups in Manipur and across the northeast who have camps in the neighbouring country. Moreh is part of Tengnoupal, a Kuk-dominated district since December 30. There have been six attacks by armed miscreants on security forces in which at least a dozen security personnel have been injured and two killed.

Kuki groups in Moreh said that a woman was severely injured after being hit by an Assam Rifles vehicle on Wednesday. They also claimed that several houses were burnt by police forces. Police officials refused to comment on it.

“At least 11 residential houses and two schools were burnt by Manipur commando today in Moreh,” Ginza Vualzong of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), a Kuki group, said.

The fresh spate of violence in Moreh follows the arrest of two persons from the Kuki community on Monday for their alleged involvement in the killing of a Manipur Police officer in October last year. This led the district administration to impose total curfew from Tuesday.

Two prominent Kuki groups, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) and Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU), condemned the arrests and said that attempts to link them to the death of a police officer was a “blatant lie”.

Manipur has been roiled by ethnic clashes between the Meitei and the tribal Kuki-Zo communities since May last year. The violence has claimed at least 202 lives and displaced around 50,000 people.

Commenting on the attacks on security forces in Moreh, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh earlier this month said, “We have doubts about the involvement of foreign mercenaries from the Myanmar side,” adding that there were reports about the involvement of the Kuki National Army-Burma in the Moreh violence. But state security adviser Kuldiep Singh told journalists later that there was no proof of involvement of Myanmar-based outfits in the violence in Moreh.

Apart from Moreh, Manipur has been witnessing sporadic violence in border areas of districts which are dominated by Meiteis and Kukis.

Late on Wednesday night, incidents of violence were reported from Thoubal district too. A Border Security Force (BSF) personnel was injured when militants attacked the office of Thoubal district superintendent of police. The gates and walls of the SP’s office was set on fire after militants threw Molotov cocktails, officials said.

“So far we have reports of a BSF personnel injured in the attack. He has been taken to Raj Medicity hospital,” an official aware of the matter said.

Following the late night attack, the control room has asked for more forces in Thoubal.

Last week, four people, all from the Meitei community, who had gone to collect firewood went missing in Bishnupur district. Their bullet-riddled bodies were found few days later.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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