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Kuki ‘fake encounter’ chant rends Ukhrul air – Army faces the music again after gunning down four rebels of KLA

Posted by Admin on September 9, 2009

9regkuki1.jpgWomen block a road on Tuesday to protest the killings at Mongkot Chepu. Picture by Eastern Projections

Imphal, Sept. 8: A truck driver who lay on the ground and escaped army bullets in Ukhrul last evening has contradicted the forces’ story of an “operation”, triggering yet another “fake encounter” protest in Manipur, this time by the Kuki community. Troops of 12 Maratha Light Infantry gunned down four Kuki Liberation Army cadres and a civilian truck driver at Mokot Chepu in the Litan area of Ukhrul and recovered six weapons around 6pm along Imphal-Ukhrul Road.

Kuki Liberation Army happens to be in a suspension of operation agreement with the security forces. The army handed over all the five bodies to Litan police station this morning, besides a huge cache of arms. An LMG with 10 rounds of ammunition, an M-16 rifle with nine rounds, an M-22 rifle with nine rounds, an AK-47 with 22 rounds, a G-3 rifle with 20 rounds, a carbine with 16 rounds and a grenade comprised the arms haul.

In its report to the police, the army said troops were deployed in Litan yesterday following information about movement of armed cadres in the area. When troops deployed at Mokot Chepu saw a truck moving towards Imphal, they stopped it for frisking.Armed cadres travelling in the truck fired at the troops, who retaliated. Later, the five persons were found dead, the report said.

While the driver was 41-year-old Sairem Ngoubram from Imphal East, the four cadres are yet to be identified. The rebels were in full combat fatigue. A labourer who was travelling in the truck was reported missing while a second driver of the truck escaped unhurt. The version provided by the second driver, who reached Imphal this morning, contradicts the report of the Maratha Light Infantry troops.

According to him, a few armed militants stopped the truck at Litan bridge, about 1km from the police station, and boarded it. Two drivers and four labourers were travelling in the truck. “When we reached the area (Mokot Chepu), security forces stopped our truck. They made all the six civilians get down and lie on the road in front of the truck. After some time, we heard gunshots. I fled,” the driver said.

Other than the missing labourer, the other three were unharmed. Alleging that it was a fake encounter, members of Kuki community blocked the Imphal-Ukhrul sector of National Highway 150 at two points since last night. While protesters put up logs at Yaingangpokpi of Imphal East, another group, in traditional Kuki mourning clothes, put up a road block in front of Litan police station, bringing traffic between Imphal and Ukhrul to a complete stop. Kuki organisations also called an indefinite road blockade along Imphal-Moreh Road and on Churachandpur-Imphal Road.

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