Heavy gunfights reported, at least 30 houses torched
MOIRANG, May 26 : Kuki militants have reportedly torched at least 30 houses of Meetei families including a mandap at Phougakchao Ikhai Awang Leikai, today at around 4.30 pm.
A large number of well armed Kuki militants started firing from the western side of Phougakchao Ikhai Awang Leikai.
Saying that the VDF personnel posted in the area and local volunteers also retaliated by firing some rounds, sources said that the Kuki militants intensified their attack after their reinforcements came.
Shortly after, four teams of Manipur commandos arrived and joined the gunfight against the Kuki militants.
Saying that the commandos withdrew for a brief moment as the Kuki militants dominated the gunfight, it added that a combined team of Army and additional teams of State commandos rushed to the spot and exchanged a heavy fire with the Kuki militants.
It is reported that the Kuki militants continued firing even after the arrival of the Central and State security forces and they managed to torch the 30 houses and the mandap.
The Kuki militants were pushed back after the arrival of more teams of State police including the Bishnupur SP.
Casualty of any kind couldn't be confirmed as of yet but it is expected that there may be some injuries.
In another encounter, a heavy gunfight broke out between Manipur commandos assisted by local volunteers and suspected cadres of Kuki militants in the adjacent area between Phougakchao Ikhai Mamang in Bishnupur and Kolpung (Kolbung) in Churachandpur.
It is reported that the gunfight which started at 11 pm yesterday lasted for about six hours.
According to a report culled from the spot, the firing started from PK Park near Bangla to which the VDF personnel and local volunteers armed with licensed double barrel guns retaliated.
Shortly after, a team of Manipur commandos rushed to the spot and joined the gunfight which lasted for about six hours.
Speaking to this correspondent, a local of Phougakchao Ikhai who witnessed the incident said that the VDF and local volunteers were on alert as there were reports of Kuki militants stationed at Kangvai and as many vehicles were heading towards Kolbung through Bangla in a suspicious manner earlier.
Claiming that some people suspected to be Kuki militants started firing towards Phougakchao Ikhai at around 11 pm from the side of PK Park, the witness continued that the VDF personnel and local volunteers also retaliated with the weapons available to them.
He said that they informed the Office-in-Charge of Phougakchao Ikhai police as they alone couldn't hold off the people on the other side armed with sophisticated weapons for longer.
He said that they were able to defend the village due to the swift action of the police.
Claiming that the Kuki militants are constantly attacking the Meetei villages with the sole objective of burning all their houses, he alleged that Kuki people who intruded into the State are very violent.
He also claimed that most of the attacks on Meetei villages were carried out by Kuki militants which signed the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with the Governments.
Saying that most of the Meetei people living in the sensitive areas are poor, he urged the Government to do the needful.
The witness went on to appeal to the Government to rein in the Kuki militants.