Six militants killed in Manipur

February 23rd, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by admin  

Imphal, Feb 23 (IANS) Six militants were killed Saturday in a fierce gun battle with paramilitary troopers in Manipur, officials said. A defence spokesman said there was an encounter between paramilitary Assam Rifles troopers and a group of heavily armed militants of the outlawed United National Liberation Front (UNLF) at Hangbungminou, a thickly forested area bordering Myanmar and 130 km southeast of Manipur’s capital Imphal.

“We had specific information about a group of UNLF militants in the area and when our troopers reached the place, the militants challenged us and in retaliatory attacks six rebels were gunned down,” defence spokesman Colonel Lalit Panth told IANS.

The security forces did not suffer any casualties. An AK 47 assault rifle, an M 16 rifle, a grenade launcher, two pistols, and other weapons were recovered from the militants.

“Last month, we carried out a massive military offensive in the area where the UNLF’s writ reigned supreme. We managed to clear the area and evict the militants with many of them fleeing to Myanmar,” the defence spokesman said.

The UNLF is an influential militant group fighting for an independent homeland for the majority Metei community in Manipur, a state with a population of 2.4 million people bordering Myanmar.

There are about 19 militant groups active in Manipur with demands ranging from independence to greater autonomy. A number of rebel groups from Manipur have bases inside the junta ruled Myanmar.

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