Security forces gun down four militants in Manipur

March 7th, 2009 - 10:39 am ICT by IANS  

Imphal, March 7 (IANS) Four Muslim separatists were killed in a gunbattle with security forces on the outskirts of Manipur’s capital Imphal early Saturday, officials said.
A police spokesman said a joint team of police commandos and paramilitary Assam Rifles troopers led a gunbattle with a group of militants belonging to the outlawed People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) near Irilbung village, about 15 km east of Imphal.

“Based on specific inputs that a group of militants was taking shelter at a thickly forested area, security forces led an operation in which four PULF rebels were gunned down,” a police official told IANS, requesting not to be named.

The official said the militants opened fire on the security team and the rebels were killed in retaliatory fire.

“Two AK 56 rifles, several hand grenades and a few rocket propelled grenades were recovered from the dead militants,” the official added.

The PULF is a rebel group formed by radical Islamists in Manipur in 1993 to fight for the cause of Muslims in the state bordering Myanmar.

There are about 200,000 Muslims in Manipur, a state of 2.3 million people.

There are some 19 odd militant groups active in Manipur with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.

A number of militant groups have bases in Myanmar with Manipur sharing an unfenced border with the country ruled by the military junta.

More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Manipur during the past two decades.

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