Four killed, cop among two hurt in Kumbi clashes
CM Biren visits incident site amid gunfire, offers tribute to deceased

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, July 02 2023: At least three volunteers, who were on guard in a bunker set up close to the hillock near Khoijumantabi village under Borayangbi GP of Kumbi assembly con -stituency, were shot dead by suspected Kuki militants around 12.10 am Sunday.

As further gunfight continued, one Kuki militant was killed and two people including a Bishnupur district policeman sustained injuries.

After receiving news of the incident, Chief Minister N Biren Singh visited the location around 2pm Sunday and also talked with the locals.

As the gunfight continued, CM Biren accompanied by Works minister Govindas Konthoujam along with other ministers and MLAs, under heavy security, went to the bunker where the three volunteers were shot dead.

After returning from the bunker, the ministerial team participated in offering floral tributes to the deceased and extended condolences.

The gunfight between Kuki militants from atop the hill of Khoijumantabi village adjoining Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts, and volunteers and Bishnupur district police commando guarding the Meitei village, which began from the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, continued on even during the presence of CM Biren in the area.

The three deceased Meitei volunteers have been identified as Naorem Rajkumar (25) s/o Sanjoy Meitei, llaobam Ipocha (37) s/o (I.) Kesho and Ningombam Ibomcha (32) s/o Iboton, all from Knoijuman Man Ing Ieikai.

The injured have been identified as Bishnupur district police's Laishram Somon (42) of Napat Mayai I.ambi and Heisnam Naocha Meitei (43) s/o Yaima of Chairel Mangjil Maning Leikai.

Both of them were rushed to Bishnupur dis trict Hospital for treatment, where they were assisted by volunteers of Bishnupur Tengbang Lup.

Concerned that Kuki militants might attack the village, the villagers and po lice personnel built a bun ker atop the hill on western end of the village and have been guarding the village on rotation basis.

The Kuki militants also took away two of the weapons used by the village guards.

Speaking with regard to the incident, a villager informed that around 13 people including 4 VDF personnel and volunteers were on duty on Saturday night.

The village already had faced attacks from Kuki militants since outbreak of the violence on May 3 .

However, both the villagers and the VDF personnel had been protecting the village on rotation basis.

On the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, heavily armed Kuki militant attacked the bunker where the VDF personnel and the village volunteers were staying in from two direction.

three of the villagers were killed in the attack and the militants took away two of the weapons.

The villager recounted that as sounds of the gunfight reached the village around 12.10 am, the other villagers began stepping out of their homes.

Shortly after, the village volunteers staying atop the hill ran down and relayed about the attack to the villagers.

On receiving news of the attack, the district police and relevant authorities were informed, following which additional forces promptly arrived at the location and found the bodies of three volunteers, with two missing with their weapons.

As the security forces conducted a search near the bunker, they were met with continuous barrage of gunfire from the Kuki militants.

As the gunfight continued, the enraged villagers attacked a Kuki village in Laingya located between the attack spot and Borayangbi, where a suspected Kuki militant was killed.

The incidents occurred while the authorities concerned were discussing about dismantling bunkers set up in the hills and villages adjoining hills the two districts to prevent any form of violence.

The villagers believed in the assurances given by the authorities and as such, had not prepared any weapons to defend them selves.

On top of this, no central paramilitary forces were deployed to protect the villagers in the area.

As such, one can only wonder how many such unfortunate incidents the village has to face, the villager lamented.

Meanwhile, the enraged villagers carried the bodies of the deceased volunteers to the residence of Kumbi AC MLA Sanasam Premchandra at Saiton Salankonjin and placed them in his courtyard.

The people waited for the return of the MLA, who was in Imphal.

Later in the evening, preparations were made to shift the three bodies from the MLA's courtyard for post-mortem examination.

There is no report about injuries or casualties among the Kuki militants during Sunday's incident though locals suspect that could be some fatalities.

The Kuki militants also attacked the adjacent village during the incident on Sunday causing injuries to at-least 10 villagers.

Retaliating the attack, groups of Meetei villagers raided Kuki villages in Lang-za and Chinglangmei areas in the Churachandpur district.

The attackers allegedly behead a Kuki village volunteer, identified as David Thiek, during the attack carried out in the early hours of Sunday.

According to reports, the attackers also torched another church and multiple houses at Langza village near the Sagang area.

Reports further said that five villagers were taken captive.

The situation in Langza village near Sagang is particularly grave, as miscreants also set fire to a church, exacerbating the plight of the affected communities.

These clashes between Kukis and Meiteis, which started on May 3, have so far claimed the lives of approximately 160 individuals, with numerous others sustaining injuries.

Reports also indicate that the enraged Meitei villagers retaliated by setting fire to the nearby Dampi Kuki village.

However, there were no casualties in this incident, as the tribal villagers had already fled.

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