Three Assam Rifles soldiers laid down their lives for the country in an ambush by militants at a district in Manipur near the border with Myanmar. Five others were injured; they are critical, sources said. A squad of 15 Assam Rifles soldiers were on an "area domination" patrol in Manipur's Chandel district on Wednesday evening when they came under attack by suspected militants of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), one of the several insurgent groups operating in the northeast state.
Sources said the Assam Rifles soldiers were first hit with an improvised explosive device (IED), followed by the ambush with small arms and a grenade launcher at the district 100 km from state capital Imphal.
A large reinforcement has been rushed to the area near the porous border with Myanmar.
"I strongly condemn the cowardice attack on 4 Assam Rifles in Chandel district. My tributes to the security personnel martyred in the attack... It is an act of cowardice and brutality. My heart goes out to the martyred and their families," Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh wrote on Facebook.
I strongly condemn the cowardly attack on 4 Assam Rifles in Chandel district. My heartfelt tribute to the 3 security personnel martyred in the attack.These bravehearts have sacrificed their lives to bring peace & harmony in this region. I share the grief of the bereaved families.— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) July 30, 2020
Chandel is the same district in Manipur where 18 soldiers laid down their lives for India when militants ambushed their convoy in June 2015, in what was described as the worst casualties the army had suffered in recent years till then.
The attack in 2015 was claimed by a mixed group of militants from the NSCN(K) and the United National Liberation Front of Manipur (UNLF).
Army special forces assisted by Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force in retaliation had struck two camps of the militants and inflicted significant casualties. The two camps were estimated to have had a total of about 150 militants and both were liquidated in the surgical strike in June 2015.
The PLA, one of the older Manipur-based insurgent groups founded in the late 1970s and fighting for secession from India, is not a party to any ceasefire with the government, unlike Nagaland's NSCN (IM) headed by 86-year-old Thuingaleng Muivah.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) as part of the ceasefire agreement has to report the location of all its camps to the Indian Army.
In August 2015, the NSCN(IM) signed a framework agreement with the government which Prime Minister Narendra Modi described as a "historic" step to usher in peace in Nagaland and neighbouring states.