GUWAHATI: Police in India’s restive northeastern Manipur state shot dead five militants in a gun battle on Friday, officials said.
The fighting between the militants and Assam Rifles paramilitary forces took place in Chandel district, about 70 kilometres south of Manipur’s state capital, Imphal. “Based on specific information Assam Rifles troopers conducted a raid and soon a fierce gunfight between the two sides ensued, lasting about three hours,” a local police official A Singh told AFP by telephone.
Security forces later recovered two AK-56 assault rifles, three M-16 rifles, and ammunition from the dead rebels. “The militants were on a specific mission to indulge in violent strikes in the area,” the policeman said. There are an estimated 20 militant groups active in Manipur with demands ranging from secession to autonomy. More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the past two decades in Manipur, a state of 2.4 million people bordering Myanmar.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010.