2 killed including an IRB jawan in violence-hit Manipur: Police

By, New Delhi
Nov 21, 2023 02:32 AM IST

An India Reserve Battalion (IRB) jawan and a driver were killed in an ambush by suspected militants in Manipur's Kangpokpi district.

An India Reserve Battalion (IRB) jawan was among two people killed on Monday after they were waylaid by suspected militants in Kangpokpi district of Manipur where ethnic violence has claimed at least 181 lives since May 3, an officer familiar with the matter said.

Henminlen Vaipei was serving personnel of the India Reserve Battalion attached to 6 IRB in Mission Veng, Manipur (HT)
Henminlen Vaipei was serving personnel of the India Reserve Battalion attached to 6 IRB in Mission Veng, Manipur (HT)

Read here: Militants plant IED, ambush Assam Rifles troops on patrol in Manipur

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One of the deceased was Henminlen Vaipei (38), a serving personnel of the India Reserve Battalion attached to 6 IRB in Mission Veng, Manipur. The other person was Thangminlun Hangsing (26), a driver. They were travelling in a vehicle when assailants shot at it, killing them on the spot.

The incident took place around 9.30 am between Harothel and Kharam Vaiphei villages. It happened on the same road 3-4 km away when three men travelling in a car were ambushed and shot dead on September 12.

The Committee on Tribal Unity condemned the incident and imposed a shutdown in Kangpokpi for 48 hours.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum, an umbrella body of tribal groups, said the state government was biased and not helping the tribal people. “Provide us with a political solution which does not involve living under the Meitei- controlled government,” it said in a statement.

The two men along with four others had left their homes to repair a road on Monday morning, local residents said.

“There is a kutcha (unpaved) road that connects Churachandpur and Kangpokpi. This is the only road we are using since the ethnic clashes broke out. By using this road, Kuki people do not have to cross Imphal, which is unsafe for Kukis,” said area resident Ngambai Haokip, a social worker. “In the morning, the road was damaged, so the two men, along with four others, had gone out in a Maruti Gypsy to repair it.”

The two men had dropped off their four friends at one point and drove a further 50-60m when they were intercepted by the assailants, Haokip said. The assailants then fled back to the jungle, he added.

The two men were rushed to the primary health care centre in Motbung, where they were declared brought dead.

Following the incident, security forces went to the spot and conducted searches in nearby villages. Local residents and police recovered over 30 spent shells from the spot, a security officer said. “The security agencies are jointly conducting search operations. The villages are on alert,” he said, declining to be named.

In the afternoon, Kuki groups held a funeral for the two men. Vaipei is survived by his wife and six children, while Hangsingh has a wife and a son.

Read here: Manipur govt lodges FIR against Kuki group leader on charges of sedition for ‘self-rule’ comment

Police teams along with other forces are conducting raids, said M Prabhakar, superintendent of police, Kangpokpi. “All our teams are working on the case,” he said.

On September 12, three men were on their way to meet their families at a relief camp, when assailants hiding in the nearby hills came on the road, stopped the vehicle and fired at the vehicle, killing them on the spot. In that case, too, the ambush took place in the morning, at around 8.30 am.

Locals had then said militants dressed as security personnel had been moving in the hills hours before the ambush, and no alarm was raised.

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    Prawesh Lama covers crime, policing, and issues of security in Delhi. Raised in Darjeeling, educated in Mumbai, he also looks at special features on social welfare in the National Capital.

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