The unrest in Manipur has claimed 180 lives so far. File
The 13 men killed in a gunfight in Manipur, close to the India-Myanmar border, are not local residents and may have been passing through when they clashed with another armed group, sources have said.
The bodies of the men killed in Leithao village in Tengnoupal district, about 10 km from the international border, have been brought to Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.
In an official statement, Manipur Police have confirmed the deaths and said a case has been registered. "On 04.12.2023, in a gunfight between unknown armed miscreants at Leithao village near Saibol in Tengnoupal District under Machi Police Station, 13 (thirteen) persons have been killed. District police and security forces rushed to the spot, a case has been registered and investigation is going on," the state police posted on X last night.
Sources in security forces deployed in Manipur said the men may have been engaged in a gunfight with a rival group, leading to their deaths.
The police have not shared any info on the identity of those killed and described them as "armed miscreants". Sources say security forces had found the bodies. The reports, sources said, indicated that those killed were not from the area and could have been transiting through.
Sources in security forces suspect the killed men could be part of an underground group.
A viral video being shared as linked to this incident has been debunked by Manipur Police.
In a post, the Manipur Police said, "A video of Myanmar is being circulated as an incident related to Manipur. Public are requested not to circulate fake news. Legal action will be initiated against spreading of such fake news."
The shocking incident of violence comes amid the ongoing unrest in Manipur since May that has already claimed over 180 lives. Several thousands remain homeless. The latest incident is an indicator of the cycle of violence that Manipur has witnessed as two ethnic groups continue to be armed and engaged in fighting each other, leading to loss of lives.