In a fresh eruption of violence, a gunfight erupted between village volunteers and Kuki militants on Thursday around 5 am in New Keithelmanbi area on NH 37 after Kuki militants launched an attack with guns and bombs at Moidangpok Khunou under Patsoi Police Station, Imphal West and New Keithelmanbi Meetei Village on Wednesday night.
As per sources, village volunteers retaliated to the attack launched by Kuki militants from the hilltop of New Keithelmanbi. According to police, the gunfight continued till 6 am and flames coming from houses were witnessed at two places of Sinam Khaithong village under New Keithelmanbi Police Station, Kangpokpi district. As per Keithelmanbi Police, 4-5 houses were reportedly set ablaze in Sinam Khaithong village.
Meanwhile, one unexploded bomb suspected to be fired by the Kuki militants landed at the residence of one Khumbongmayum Rajen of Moidangpok Khunou around 8 pm on Wednesday.
Later, the kuki militants started attacking the Keithelmanbi Meetei Village by firing gunshots at around 9.15pm. Additional state forces from Imphal rushed to the area upon hearing the news.
Village volunteers said that it was extremely hard to face the kuki militants with their Double barrel single barrel guns. A wooden shed of one Premjit who lives at the border of the village was burnt down by the Kukis. Keithelmanbi Khunou villagers fled to Moidangpok Khunou for the night due to the attack.
Sources added that 33-AR, 5/9 GR and CRPF personnels are currently stationed at Keithelmanbi hilltop where the Kukis carried out their attack but did not conduct any search operation to apprehend the Kuki militants.
As per sources, the bomb which landed in Moidangpok was recovered by a team of CID (Tech) of the bomb disposal squad. According to BDS, it is speculated that the bomb must be dropped from a drone as a mortal shell cannot cover the distance from Keithelmanbi hilltop to Moidangpok.
People of Moidangpok also saw a flying object on Wednesday night and it is believed that the drone was used for dropping the bomb.
The bomb disposal squad also added that the mortar shell is similar to the mortar shell dropped at Terakhongsangbi, Moirang by using a drone in an earlier incident, and the said mortar shell is only issued to the Indian Army, as per sources.
The bomb disposal team safely exploded the bomb in Moidangpok Khunou field at around 4.40 am on Thursday.