Guns Boom At Ukhrul Again: 1 Police Commando Killed, 2 Hurt In Ukhrul Attacks

IMPHAL/UKHRUL, Sep 9: A one police commando personnel was killed while two others sustained serious injuries when suspected NSCN-IM cadres attacked them at two different places along Imphal-Ukhrul road today.

Meanwhile, the State Government has strongly condemned the ambush in Ukhrul district on State forces by militants in which one security personnel was killed.

Sharing the grief and pain of the bereaved family, the State Government has announced ex-gratia of Rs five lakh and a Government job to the next of kin of the deceased, according to a press release issued by Principal Secretary (Home) Dr J Suresh Babu.

Saying that the culprits will be taken to task as per the law of the land, it further announced financial assistance of Rs one lakh each to the injured victims.

According to information culled from the spot, a team of Thoubal District commandos was attacked by suspected NSCN-IM cadres at Shangkai village under Litan police station at around 9.25 am today.

Another team of commandos belonging to Imphal West District Police too came under heavy attack at Nungshangkong about 16 Kms away from Ukhrul district headquarters at about the same time.

While the Thoubal District commandos were going on ROP duty, the Imphal West commandos were moving out of Ukhrul.

Commando personnel KS Thotyo (33) s/o K Solomon of Riha village, Ukhrul district sustained injuries in the Nungshangkong attack. Even as he was immediately rushed to the unit hospital of 16 Assam Rifles at Shangshak, he succumbed to his injuries. He was hit by a bullet on the neck and was moving together with Imphal West District Police Inspector James Thangal.

On the other side, a police team led by Thoubal District SP (Law and Order) Dr Sarangthem Ibomcha was going on ROP duty for the safety of police commandos and IRB personnel scheduled to head towards Imphal from Ukhrul.

They were also attacked by suspected NSCN-IM cadres in which two commando personnel were injured.

The injured personnel have been identified as Khumukcham Amuthoi (33) s/o Achouba of Kakching Khunou and Kapminlian Mangsuan (29) s/o Haokholam of Tuibuang, Churachandpur district.

Amuthoi was wounded on the right thigh while Kapminlian sustained injuries of the left shoulder. Both of them have been brought to JNIMS. Amuthoi’s condition is said to be critical.

Police reinforcements rushed in to the two ambush sites and conducted search operations. Troops of 16 Assam Rifles also joined the search operations in addition to sending some other troops on ROP duty.

Signs of suspected NSCN-IM cadres lying in ambush were observed at Shangkai. Empty beer bottles and polythene bags used for wrapping eatables were also found.

The convoy of State security forces was attacked from three directions taking advantage of the hilly terrain.

Beer cans and empty polythene bags were also found at a makeshift hut inside a banana farm, a little distance above Litan indicating possibility of the assailants using the makeshift hut as their temporary hide-out.

Notably, Ukhrul ADC member Ngalangzar Malue was assassinated by suspected NSCN-IM cadres n July 12 this year at Finch Corner along Imphal-Ukhrul road.

Subsequent upon the assassination, police commandos and IRB personnel were deployed in Ukhrul town together with promulgation of CrPC 144.

In protest against deployment of State security forces and promulgation of 144 CrPC, protest rallies were held at Naga dominated district headquarters on August 30. The protest rally taken out at Ukhrul town turned violent and two individuals were killed in police firing.

This made the UNC to declare a blanket indefinite ban on execution of all National projects and vehicular movement on all National and State highways in Naga areas.

Notwithstanding the UNC’s complete ban, the State Government revoked the prohibitory orders clamped under CrPC 144 at Ukhrul town on September 8.

As per the Government’s plan to withdraw State security forces from Ukhrul, commandos and IRB personnel deployed at Ukhrul were heading to Imphal but both the returning team and another police team which was on ROP duty were attacked by suspected NSCN-IM cadres inflicting one fatal casualty.

Meanwhile, the State security forces led by DIG (AP-I/II) Bimalchandra who were deployed at Ukhrul reached Imphal at around 4.30 pm today. In their place, a team of 6th Manipur Rifles led by DIG Range-I IK Muivah has moved to Ukhrul.

Some local people of Nungshangkong near Hundung Cement Factory said that they heard a loud explosion and a volley of gun fire instantaneously at around 9.50 this morning. Retaliation from the security forces lasted for at least 20 minutes. Later more than 35 police vehicles rushed in to the spot.

All the ambush sites have been cordoned off by Assam Rifles led by Commdt 41 AR Gaurav Bose apart from conducting search operations at all strategic points to avert further escalation of arm conflict at the area.

Meanwhile, the venue of the sit-in-protest organized under the aegis of the Naga Women Union Manipur (NWUM) was shifted to Dungrei junction.

The protest was demanding immediate cessation of militarization of Naga areas, expediting the Indo-Naga peace process for an acceptable and honorable settlement and also tripartite talk for Alternative Arrangement.

A similar protest demonstration was also held at Tamenglong district headquarters starting from 10 am.

After the twin attacks, the whole Ukhrul town was deserted with the main markets closing down immediately. School children were released before the school hours were over after learning about the twin attacks.

Unconfirmed reports said that some civilians were picked up from Lambui area by State forces.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express/ Mungchan Zimik)

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