Commando shot dead in Moreh gunfight amid Manipur violence

Commando shot dead in Moreh gunfight

Commando shot dead in Moreh gunfight amid Manipur violence

A police commando, Wangkhem Somorjit, has been shot dead in a Moreh gunfight due to the fresh violence outbreak in the state of Manipur. It came just two days after police arrested two persons in Moreh on suspicion of killing a police officer.

Following the suspicious people, security officials battled and opened fire with suspected Kuki militants in the border town of Moreh, Tengnoupal district. Authorities found commando Wangkhem shot dead during this gunfight today in Moreh.

According to media reports, the alleged Kuki militants threw bombs and opened fire on a security checkpoint near SBI (State Bank of India) Moreh.

As a result, security troops responded with retaliatory fire. Besides the killed commando Somorjit, another commando sustained injuries due to a gunfight. The gunfight lasted for more than one hour.

The Manipur government has ordered a complete curfew across the Tengnoupal district to avoid peace disruption and public disorder. There is a high threat to human lives and property within the revenue jurisdiction of the district.

Law enforcement agencies and emergency services don’t come under curfew imposition. They are on high alert to deal with any rebellious move.

Local villagers opened fire on suspected Kuki militants in Koutruk village, Imphal West district last night Jan 16, 2024. The Manipur police officers ceased the firing.

According to Press Trust of India Ltd, local police caught Kuki militants Phillip Khongsai and Hemokholal Mate on Jan 15, 2024. Police arrested them for allegedly murdering sub-divisional police officer Chingtham Anand in October of last year.

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The alleged people fired at the vehicles of security personnel when police approached them to arrest them. However, police managed to hold them in custody after chasing them. They received a remand of nine days in police custody.

Police stated that they seized a revolver with two live rounds, a Chinese hand grenade, ten live rounds of AK ammo, and ten explosives from their possession.

However, hundreds of women have gathered outside the Moreh police station to demand their unconditional release.

What is the Manipur crisis?

Ethnic conflict broke out in the northeast Indian state of Manipur on May 3, 2023, between the Kuki-Zo tribe from the surrounding hills and the Meitei tribe in the Imphal Valley. Government statistics show that since May of last year, almost 200 people have been killed in the conflict between the dominant Meitei and Kuki clans.

Ethnic violence refers to the Metei tribe are Hindu majority belonging to the Sanamahi religion and having roots in Manipur. On the other hand, the Kuki-Zo tribe belongs to mostly the Christian religion, and they have roots back in Myanmar. In short, they have migrated from Myanmar to the Indian state of Manipur.

The recent conflict came out in May 2023 when Meiteis demanded the government to give them official tribe status. Kukis protested against it because they believed they have already a strong influence on the Indian government and society. In case, Meitis gains official status, they will settle in the lands of the Kuki areas or buy their lands and deprive them of their basic rights.

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