Kangpokpi: A 21-year-old village volunteer was killed in a fresh gunfight with unidentified armed group in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district on Saturday.
As per reliable sources, the incident took place at around 2:30 am when a group of armed persons attacked Joupi, a Kuki-Zo village, killing the village volunteer guarding one of the bunkers.
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The deceased is identified as Khupminthang Haokip, son of (L) Janglal Haokip from Phaikholum village.
Soon after the gunfight which went on for at least 45 minutes, the armed men retreated from the site. However, following the incident, tensions erupted in the village and its adjoining areas in Kangpokpi and Bishnupur districts.
Following the incident, additional security forces have been deployed in the area and combing operations are underway to trace the perpetrators, it said.
Meanwhile, strongly condemning the attack, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum said that the courageous villagers fought valiantly and managed to push back the attackers.
ITLF also informed that during the melee, some of the assailants reportedly went missing.
“Upon realising that some of their members were missing, the attackers regrouped and are gathering in significant numbers near Ngarian in Bishnupur district since dawn, indicating a potential escalation of hostilities in the area,” ITLF stated.
The tribal body also claimed that there is an imminent threat to Kuki-Zo villages in the surrounding areas as Meitei militants, led by Arambai Tenggol and Meitei police commandos, could launch a bigger attack at any moment.
This is a developing situation and we vehemently condemn the continual attack of the Kuki-Zo villages and urge central security forces to protect Joupi and the nearby tribal village, it added.
In an obituary, the Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) said that the only son of a widowed mother, true son of the soil, brave warrior and a great friend.
“He laid down his life in defence of our ancestral lands and freedom, killed at Joupi village while he was on duty guarding his people from Meitei militants,” it added.