Manipur: Unidentified Militants armed with advanced weapons ambushed an army convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district bordering Myanmar on Thursday morning, killing at least 20 soldiers of 6 Dogra infantry regiment and wounding over a dozen others in one of the deadliest attacks in the restive region.
Officials said, a 6-Dogra Regiment team was on a routine road opening patrol (ROP) along Moltuk village, around 110 KM south of state capital Imphal, when the guerrillas attacked the group with rocket-propelled grenades.
The newly-floated common platform, United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia comprising NSCN (K), Ulfa (I), Kamatapur Liberation Organization and NDFB (Songbijit) claimed responsibility for the attack, which is suspected to be retaliation against the alleged killing of a local woman by soldiers this week following which the district observed a complete shutdown on Wednesday.
“When a team of soldiers of 6-Dogra Regiment was on the patrol as part of its daily routine along Tengnoupal-New Samtal road, it was attacked by an unidentified militant armed first with a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED)”, informed by a police official in Imphal.
“After the IED blast, the militants resorted to heavy firing at the convoy of four army vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic high tech weapons”, Said by army sources in Delhi.
“Twenty army men were killed and 11 injured in the Manipur‘s attack by unidentified militants armed” army spoke person Col Rohan Anand said in Delhi.
An Assam Rifles (South) spokesperson said, “All the victims have been evacuated to the military hospital (MH) at Leimakhong.”
The official report, that one of the militants was also killed in this reverse fighting of militant attack though his identity had yet to be established.
A reinforcement party of security personnel was rushed to the spot for a combing operation to catch the militants, said sources.
This is not the first attack by the militant armed on soldiers, before this on April 2, three Army soldiers were killed in an ambush by NSCN (K) in Tirap district in Arunachal Pradesh. On May 3, seven Assam Rifles soldiers and one soldiers of Territorial Army were killed in another ambush in Mon district in Nagaland by joint forces of newly floated United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia comprising NSCN (K), Ulfa (I), Kamatapur Liberation Organization and NDFB (Songbijit).
In Delhi, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju announced the Centre will not enter into peace talks with any emerging militant outfits in the northeast as the Narendra Modi government decided to take a “tough line” against the militant armed.
He also said, the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) will stay on in the north-eastern states other than Tripura where the law was repealed on May 27 by the state government after 18 years.
“Those who committed this “cowardly act” will be brought to book. Parrikar also conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families of the armymen who lost their lives,” said by Defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
Manipur is home place to dozens of guerrilla outfits and tribal groups that have been enforce a war with the emplacement for decades accusing the government of exploiting the region’s rich natural resources while neglecting the local development.
Many northeast regions have been neglected by all the political leaders, accusing them of focusing on the establishment and development of the country’s wealthier regions.
Encounters with the militant armed forces and ambushes have returned to haunt the northeast after the NSCN (Khaplang) junked a 14-year-old ceasefire in March.
Still this militant group has killed at least 15 security personnel across Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
Security personnel have struggled to contain unrest in the trouble-torn state despite the Afspa conferring upon them additional powers and legal immunization.
Recently few days back armed force killed four militant in J&K.