The policemen were on their way to Imphal after withdrawal of CrPC Section 144
IMPHAL, September 9: As the State government pulled back the police commandos deployed at Ukhrul today, militants suspected to be NSCN (IM) cadres laid ambush at two different locations along the Imphal-Ukhrul road. The defiant attack on the security convoy consisting of police commandos, IRB and Manipur Rifles personnel, left one Commando personnel dead and two others with grievous injuries.
The first attack occurred at around 9.45 am today. The location where the attack occurred was from a hillock adjoining the road which had a foliage of pine trees. It was around one kilometre from the defunct Hundung cement factory , situated around 13 kilometres from Ukhrul town and near Nongsangkhong.
The militants who were dug in earlier opened fire at the passing convoy. The automatic fire from the militants hit a commando personal at the face. He was identified as Thodmiyo, 31 , a resident of Riha village, Ukhrul district. He sustained two bullet wounds, one in the chin and one near the neck. He was transported from Finch Corner to Sangshak, 16 Assam Rifles post but later succumbed to his injury.
In the next attack to the convoy which occurred near Thawai Tangkhul Lamkhai/Sangkai which is situated about six kilometers from Litan police station, two police personnel were injured. They are identified as Khumukcham Amuthoi, 33 son of Achouba of Kakching Khunou and attached to the Thoubal district police commandos. He sustained multiple bullet injury and was hit in the chest. He is said to be in a critical condition and has been referred from JNIMS to RIMS hospital. Another personnel who was injured is identified as Kapnilian Namsong, 29, son of Haokholum of Tuibong, Churachandpur. He sustained minor injury to his leg but is said to be out of danger.
Post the ambush, security forces including Assam Rifles, IRB and Manipur Rifles, state police forces were deployed along the road. The attack came when the police commands and IRB personnel who were previously posted at Ukhrul were recalled from their command to the valley.
At the same time, a combined team of IRB and MR personnel were en route to Ukhrul. But, due to the news of the attack, the team going to Ukhrul was halted at Litan until reinforcements came and cleared the road. After the road was sanitized and the probable areas where ambush could be laid were checked with help of para-military forces, the convoy finally reached Ukhrul late evening.
It may be mentioned the police commandos were deployed after ADC member Ngalangzar Malue was killed by NSCN (IM) cadres at Finch Corner on July 12 last. In a crackdown by the police, 8 cadres of the NSCN (IM) were arrested from Ukhrul and followed by subsequent imposition of CrPC 144 in the district headquarters.
Civil organizations of the district held various protest to have the ban orders to be lifted and for the police commandos and IRB to go back. The last incident of a mass protest on August 31 resulted in the death of two civilian protestors.
Spearheading the campaign, the United Naga Council has imposed an indefinite economic blockade along the highways since September 4. The state government reciprocating the appeal of the UNC lifted the CrPC 144 on September 7 subsequently and had decided to shift all police commandos from Ukhrul town today. The ambush occurred when the police commandos with IRB personnel travelling in approximately 35 vehicles were coming back to the valley.
The state government had lifted the 144 prohibitory order on a trail basis and had assured to withdraw the police commandos, a notification by principal secretary, Suresh Babu mentioned earlier after receiving the recommendation from Union additional secretary (Home) Rajiv Gauba, joint secretary Sambhu Singh and special secretary (Internal Affairs) , Prakash Mishra.
Following the law and order situation, it is left to the state government whether the CrpC 144 which was lifted on a trail basis is to be clamped back again and police commandos redeployed to contain militant activities.