- Manipur-based terrorist groups PLA and MNPF have claimed responsibility
- There was an IED blast before heavy firing, sources said
- PM Modi has condemned the attack on the Assam Rifles convoy
An Assam Rifles Colonel, his wife and eight-year-old son, and four soldiers were killed in an ambush by terrorists near the border with Myanmar in Manipur. The terror attack - one of the deadliest in the region in recent times - took place at 11 am in Manipur's Churachandpur district.
The Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles, Colonel Viplav Tripathi, had gone to a forward camp on Saturday and was returning when his convoy was ambushed.
"Five soldiers including Colonel Viplav Tripathi, Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles, have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. The family of the Commanding Officer - wife and child - also lost their lives. DG and all ranks of Assam Rifles offer condolences to the brave soldiers and families," the Assam Rifles said in a statement.
Manipur-based terrorist groups People's Liberation Army, or PLA, and Manipur Naga People's Front, or MNPF, have claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
There was an improvised explosive device, or IED, blast before heavy firing from both sides of the road started, the sources said.
This is the first time that civilians have died in an ambush in this remote area of the district. The location is an extremely remote village around 50 km from Churachandpur.
Colonel Tripathi was posted in Mizoram before Manipur. People in Mizoram's capital Aizawl who knew the Colonel say he was a very polite officer and would often help civilians in his area of operation.
Lt Gen PC Nair, AVSM, YSM, DG Assam Rifles conveys heartfelt condolences to the families of our Brave Soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty in Manipur. pic.twitter.com/fDa4c9BgsC— The Assam Rifles (@official_dgar) November 13, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences and condemned the attack on the Assam Rifles convoy. "Strongly condemn the attack on the Assam Rifles convoy in Manipur. I pay homage to those soldiers and family members who have been martyred today. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness," PM Modi tweeted.
Strongly condemn the attack on the Assam Rifles convoy in Manipur. I pay homage to those soldiers and family members who have been martyred today. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 13, 2021
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the attack and gave his condolences. "The cowardly attack on an Assam Rifles convoy in Churachandpur, Manipur is extremely painful and condemnable. The nation has lost 5 brave soldiers including CO 46 AR and two family members. My condolences to the bereaved families. The perpetrators will be brought to justice soon," Mr Singh tweeted.
The cowardly attack on an Assam Rifles convoy in Churachandpur, Manipur is extremely painful & condemnable. The nation has lost 5 brave soldiers including CO 46 AR and two family members.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) November 13, 2021
My condolences to the bereaved families. The perpetrators will be brought to justice soon.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh tweeted that a counter-operation has been launched to track down the terrorists.
Strongly condemn the cowardly attack on a convoy of 46 AR which has reportedly killed few personnel including the CO & his family at CCpur today. The State forces & Para military are already on their job to track down the militants. The perpetrators will be brought to justice.— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) November 13, 2021
Manipur, like many of the north-eastern states, is home to several armed groups fighting for either greater autonomy or secession. For decades, the Army has been deployed to the area that has borders with China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
In 2015, 20 soldiers were killed in an attack by terrorists in Manipur, after which the Army launched a surgical strike on their camp.
The Assam Rifles is a paramilitary force that operates under the Army's control and is used mainly for counter-insurgency operations in the northeast, though it comes under the Home Ministry for administrative purposes. It acts as an interventionist force of the central government for internal security when the situation goes beyond the control of central paramilitary operations.