The Kom Union Manipur (KUM) on Wednesday strongly condemned the abduction of and brutal assault on KUM president Serto Ahao Kom by militants suspected to be of the Kuki Independent Army (KIA) at Chingpehi village, Churachandpur district on Monday.
KUM lambasted the militants for allegedly carrying out the assault on flimsy and unfounded allegations and added that the attack on the president of the union was synonymous with threatening the entire Kom community in Manipur.
In the assault, Ahao Kom’s left wrist was fractured and also received multiple injuries in other parts. It may be mentioned that KIA is an outlawed outfit and is not under SoO with the state and the Central government.
The outfit had also allegedly raided the Horeb SoO camp, Chongkhozou at the Henglep subdivision in the Churachandpur district and looted a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the camp in April 2023.
Since the eruption of the ethnic clash in May, constant allegations have been raised about the involvement of Kuki militants in carrying out unprovoked gun attacks against innocent villagers. This recent assault of the KUM president by suspected KIA militants has given the people a strong indication towards the truth of the claims.
Speaking to the media at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul, KUM advisor Boyes Kom narrated that the abduction and assault took place when Serto Ahao Kom was on his way to visit his ailing father at Khoirentak Khunou in Churachandpur district.
“He was abducted at Chingphei Village around 3 pm while he was on his way to Khoirentak Khunou. He was brought to a KIA bunker near Chingphei village where he was brutally assaulted by nearly 30 cadres of the outfit,” he said.
They even threatened Ahao Kom by firing live rounds which luckily missed him and detained him throughout the night, Boyes Kom added.
He maintained that the assault on the KUM president by KIA was synonymous with attacking the entire Kom community in Manipur.
“He was attacked for his alleged involvement with Arambai Tenggol and COCOMI which are completely false and unfounded; KUM has never been involved with Arambai Tenggol but we have connections with not only COCOMI but CSOs of all communities in Manipur,” he said.
He highlighted that the KUM president had been striving to usher peace and normalcy ever since the crisis erupted. He appealed to all CSOs and communities in Manipur to prevent and stop such untoward incidents in the future.
“The Kom community is one of the small tribes in Manipur; we are peace-loving and have stood neutral in the entire clash. To carry out such unprovoked attacks on one of our leaders is highly unfortunate,” he said.
Boyes informed that a formal complaint regarding the incident would be filed soon while also calling upon authorities concerned to intervene and give befitting punishments to the culprits involved. He also urged authorities concerned to deploy security personnel in all Kom-inhabited areas of Manipur.
Serto Ahao Kom was rushed to RIMS hospital on Tuesday and is currently undergoing treatment at Orthopaedic Special Ward for his injuries.