Manipur ambush raises border security concerns

Authorities had info about possible militant attack in area

Manipur ambush raises border security concerns
The death of six Assam Rifles personnel in an ambush in Manipur on Sunday has rattled the security establishment. The attack has prompted New Delhi to order a crackdown on Northeast militants operating on the Myanmar border in Manipur and Nagaland.

While CorCom (Core Committee), a joint conglomerate of all banned militants groups of Manipur who operate in the Imphal valley region, has claimed responsibility for the ambush, it seems the attack may be a part of a larger design.

Troopers from 29 Assam Rifles, who were posted to guard the porous Indo-Myanmar border, were returning after inspecting a landslide hit area near the border when they were ambushed in Joubi on Sunday.

The incident took place in New Somtal area near Hengsi of Joupi under Tegnoupal police station in Chandel district.

The militants also snatched six AK 47 rifles, one LMG and ammunition from the soldiers.

The post-mortem was conducted on Monday and the bodies would be sent to their respective homes, officials added. This ambush comes close on the heels of yet another failed attempt on May 19 when PLA militants had tried to ambush BSF personnel in Thoubal district of Manipur.

“We had inputs that militant groups who are hiding in Myanmar were trying to launch a massive attack. Though we had information, the incident happened. We have information that they might try to target Assam Rifles in Nagaland as well,” said a senior Military Intelligence officer posted in Imphal.

According to Manipur Police sources, the attack might have been carried out by the hit squad of CorCom but they might have got support from the oldest militant group of Manipur, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF). UNLF has a strong base in the area.

The security forces are alarmed since it was in the same area where 18 Army jawans were gunned down in an ambush by a combined team of Northeast militant groups in Paralaon in Chandel district of Manipur last year.

The Army had last year launched surgical strikes on the Indo-Myanmar border last year to hit Northeast militant bases in Sagaing division of northern Myanmar.

Army  sources also informed DH that the special crack unit of the 7 Para Regiment Special Forces stationed in Leimakhong cantonment near Imphal have been asked to remain ready for a surgical strike like last year’s should New Delhi give a go ahead.

Apart from sounding a high alert and sending reinforcements, the security establishment has conducted review meetings on Monday, trying to find out loopholes since there were prior inputs of militant movement, Army sources added.

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