At least three people, suspected to be Kuki militants, were killed in a suspected ambush on the road between Ireng Naga and Kharam Vaiphei village located 2 km from Kangchup Police Station in Kangpokpi district on Tuesday, according to police.
The three deceased have been identified as Satneo Tuboi, Ngamminlun Lhouvum, both from Pollen village and Ngamminlun Kipgen from Sapermeina.
Police sources said the incident occurred around 6.20 am. The three were coming from Pollen village towards Kangpokpi side in a white-coloured gypsy bearing registration number MN03C/0295.
They were reportedly ambushed by unidentified armed miscreants in between Ireng Naga and Kharam Vaiphei village. All three of them were said to be killed on the spot.
Residents nearby the area also recalled hearing sounds of gunfire around the area till around 6:45 am.
Meanwhile, Sapermeina Police Station has registered a case against the incident. Originally, the incident site falls under the jurisdiction of Kangchup Police Station, however, seeing that Kangchup Police Station is non-functional at the moment, the case was registered by Sapermeina PS.
The dead bodies have been shifted to Kangpokpi police station. Tuesday’s ambush is the latest in a surge in violence in the war-torn state.
The Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) in a statement warned that “such cold blooded murder” of innocent Kuki-Zo villagers will not be tolerated and that action will be taken against “Meitei terrorists” trespassing into the hills.
CoTU urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately declare all valley districts as “disturbed areas” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
The committee said that if the home minister does not do so, it will interpret his inaction as providing leeway for the “Wiping out Campaign” allegedly started by the state government.
The statement also warned that the group will have to “retaliate in full scale and might” if no action is taken.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) in a release has condemned the killing of three 'civilians' and said that Ngamminlun Kipgen is a musician who is also the secretary of the Thadou Artiste Association.
The statement said, the involvement of well-trained armed Meitei groups working hand in glove with Meitei population has given a new dimension to the ethnic conflict and will be a big obstacle to the road to peace.
Meanwhile, even as CoTU and ITLF claims the three killed as civilians, a video showing Ngamminlun Kipgen in fatigues showing up at head-count of Kuki militant cadres in a SoO designated camp by Indian Army has surfaced in the social media.