Gunfight between village volunteers of Koutruk Ching Leikai, IRB personnels and Kuki militants continued till around 6.30 am on Saturday after Kuki militants launched attacks at Koutruk under Lamshang Police Station in Imphal West by firing bombs and guns at 8.05 pm on Friday.
Numerous meira paibis halted AR personnel from approaching Koutruk to carry out their patrolling before the Kuki militants launched their attacks. The AR personnel were halted at National Sports University gate at Haraothel. Kuki militants carried out their attacks as soon as the AR personnel retreated back around 8.5 pm. The 2nd, 3rd and 7th IRB personnel and Village Volunteers retaliated to the attacks.
Kuki militants also started attacking Meitei villages from Singda and Bethel side soon after the Koutruk attack. The 22nd AR turned on their search lights from the Singda side during the attack. No casualties were reported from the IRB and village volunteers’ side during the exchange of fire.
Meanwhile, two mortar shells suspected to be from a misfire were found near the paddy fields near IV road of Kadangband Part-1 Singda and Twuikun crossing and Koutruk Ching Leikai. AR personnels rounded the mortar shell with sandbags and put up a flag in the area. On inspection by a team of State Police Bomb Disposal Squad, it was only the mere shell of the mortar without any explosives inside.
The mortar shell found at Koutruk Ching Leikai was a 51mm mortar shell and a bomb disposal squad exploded the mortar shell at the same place where it was found around 1.45 pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Central forces tried to conduct a search operation at the Meitei villages of Koutruk at around 3.30 pm on Saturday, alleging that the gunfight was initiated by Koutruk Meitei villagers. Meira Paibis opposed the search operation and made it impossible for the AR personnel to carry out their duties. The Central forces left the area around 5.15 pm.
Koutruk Apunba Lup secretary Leishangthem Romen said that the allegations made by the Central forces is completely false and clarified that IRB personnel retaliated to the attack launched by the Kuki militants. It can be verified from the CRPF commander stationed at Koutruk about the gunfight, he added.