- 71 Reads
A heavy exchange of gunfire broke out between rival militant groups in Moreh town of Tengnoupal district Manipur, bordering Myanmar, in the wee hours of Friday. The skirmish broke out near forest gate about a kilometer away from Moreh police station.
Police said the gunfire started after midnight and lasted for over half-an-hour. As a combined team of police commandos and 11 Assam Rifles rushed at the spot, the militant groups reportedly retreated from their positions. A search operation was conducted in and around the surrounding areas of the encounter site but no arrests was made.
While it could not be confirmed if there was any casualty, the police has found traces of blood from the encounter site. They also recovered a hand grenade, a large number of empty cartridges of automatic rifles from the site.
There were multiple bullets holes in the buildings and houses in the vicinity including the electricity office and Moreh trade center. But, there was no report of any civilian casualty either, said the police.
It is speculated that the skirmish could be between rival Kuki militants operating in the area, who are under tripartite suspension of operation agreement with the government, however, there is no official confirmation. “At present, we cannot fully establish who were involved in the gunfight. We have started an investigation into the matter”, said SP of Tengnoupal district Dr S Ibomcha.
In July, a similar incident had taken place in ward no 2 Gamnom, wherein armed miscreants fired several rounds at the residential areas inflicting damage to a few houses and property. No casualty was reported in the July incident.
Civil bodies in Moreh strongly condemned the gunfight.