40 Insurgents Shot Dead In Manipur, Says Chief Minister; Encounters On

Manipur: The insurgents simultaneously attacked five areas in and around Imphal valley at 2 am today, sources said

The ethnic violence in Manipur started on May 3; the state has been without internet since then (PTI)

New Delhi/Imphal:

Commandos of the Manipur Police have been engaging insurgents for over eight hours today in several areas of the state hit by ethnic violence, sources have told NDTV.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh told reporters today they have got reports that "40 terrorists" have been shot dead.

"The terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper guns against civilians. They came to many villages to burn down homes. We have started taking very strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have got reports some 40 terrorists have been shot dead," Mr Singh told reporters today.

"The terrorists have been shooting at unarmed civilians," Mr Singh said, adding the fight is between armed terrorists trying to disintegrate Manipur and the state government assisted by the centre.

The insurgents simultaneously attacked five areas in and around Imphal valley at 2 am today, sources said.

The areas are Sekmai, Sugnu, Kumbi, Phayeng and Serou. There are reports of gunfights going on in more areas and unclaimed bodies lying on the streets.

The gunfight at Sekmai is over, sources said, without giving more details.

Doctors at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in state capital Imphal told NDTV on phone today they have received 10 people injured in the gunfight at Phayeng.

Khumanthem Kennedy, 27, a farmer, was killed after he was hit by multiple bullets in Bishenpur's Chandonpokpi; his body is being taken to RIMS, sources said, adding more casualties are feared. Kennedy is survived by his wife and infant son.


Manipur ethnic violence: The army and other security forces are also carrying out operations against insurgent groups

The Chief Minister said the spurt in violent attacks on civilians on the outskirts of Imphal valley in the past two days seemed well-planned and is strongly condemnable, especially when Minister of State Nityanand Rai is in Manipur on a peace mission.

Over 25 Kuki insurgent groups have signed the tripartite "suspension of operations" (SoO) agreement with the centre and the state government. Under the SoO rules, the insurgents are to be confined in designated camps identified by the government and the weapons kept under locks, regularly monitored.

Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to visit Manipur tomorrow. He has appealed to both the Meiteis and the Kukis to maintain calm and peace, and work for bringing normalcy.

Army chief General Manoj Pande also went to the state yesterday on a two-day visit to review the security situation.

The continuing ethnic violence between the Meiteis, who live in and around Imphal valley, and the Kuki tribe, who are settled in the hills, over the Meiteis' demand to be included under the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category has claimed over 70 lives since clashed started on May 3.

Manipur has been without internet for over 25 days.