Indian army launches hunt for militants after 20 soldiers killed

2015-06-05 14:04
Indian security personnel and smoldering vehicle wreckage at the scene of an attack on a military convoy in a remote area of Chandel district. (STR, AFP)

Indian security personnel and smoldering vehicle wreckage at the scene of an attack on a military convoy in a remote area of Chandel district. (STR, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Guwahati - India's army launched an operation in the northeastern state of Manipur on Friday to hunt tribal separatist guerrillas who killed at least 20 soldiers in the deadliest attack on security forces in the state in more than two decades.

The operation involves hundreds of soldiers on foot with the support of helicopters in the remote mountainous forests close to the border with Myanmar, where insurgents are demanding autonomy for their tribal groups or independence, army and intelligence officers told Reuters.

The central government asked the army to "trace and eliminate the insurgents" involved in the attack, a military commander said, asking not to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

As in much of India's remote and underdeveloped northeast, Manipur has been the scene of recurring strife between ethnic and religious groups since independence from British rule in 1947.

Manipur is one of seven northeastern provinces attached to the rest of the India by a thin strip of territory arching above Bangladesh. In culture and appearance, its people have more similarities with Southeast Asia than mainland India.

About 2 000 people have been killed in the violence in Manipur over the last decade, according to the South Asian Terrorism Portal.

A senior intelligence officer said about 50 tribal guerrillas were involved in the ambush of the three-vehicle convoy on a narrow road on a remote hillside about 100km from the state capital, Imphal, on Thursday.

The militants fired rocket-propelled grenades, detonated improvised explosive devices and peppered the trucks with machine guns, army officials said. Two of the military trucks carrying soldiers caught fire.

The militants may have escaped across a porous border to hideouts in Myanmar, a trek of at least four hours through thick forest from the site of the attack, according to intelligence officers.

Three rebels groups active in the area, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang faction), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup and Kangleipak Communist Party, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Recently several rebels groups from the region formed a unified group named United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia.

"Generally, violence in Manipur is on the downward trend," said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi. "But this is a reminder well-armed groups, which are reasonably well coordinated, are able to carry out opportunistic attacks."

Read more on:    india

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.