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Seven separatists killed in encounters

india Updated: Oct 05, 2007 10:00 IST
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Seven separatists were killed in three separate encounters with security forces in the restive northeastern state of Manipur, officials said on Friday.

A police spokesman said three unidentified militants were gunned down on Thursday in an encounter with a joint team of police commandos and army soldiers near village Sanjenbam in Imphal West district, about 50 km off capital Imphal.

"The raid was conducted after getting specific information about some rebels hiding in the area. Rifles and grenades, besides a large cache of ammunition, were recovered from the dead militants," a senior police official said.

In two separate encounters, four rebels were killed in the Imphal West and Bishenpur districts Thursday. "Security forces recovered AK 47 rifles and other weapons from the militants who were shot dead after a long encounter," army spokesman Col LM Pant said.

The identities of the dead rebels were not immediately known.

Security forces in Manipur have stepped up their anti-insurgency drive after separatists killed five paramilitary troopers on Wednesday in an ambush near village Behang in Manipur's Senapati district, 30 km from Imphal.

The People's Revolutionary Army of Kangleipak (PREPAK), a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland for the majority Metei community, claimed responsibility for the attack.

There are more than 19 militant groups active in Manipur, bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.