Imphal | October 8 : In a major ambush, several cadres belonging to the NSCN (IM) have been killed. However there have been conflicting reports as the actual casualty figures could not be ascertained. According to information received NSCN (IM) cadres and a civilian were killed in a shoot-out incident with the Zeliangrong Tiger Force (ZTF), the armed wing of the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) in Tamenglong district of Manipur last evening. Manipur police put the casualty figure as six NSCN (IM) cadres and a civilian.
The ZUF, the militant outfit which was formed few months ago also claimed today that altogether six cadres of the NSCN (IM) were killed and injured scores from the latter group including its ‘brigadier’ Sounii Poumai who is reportedly in-charge of three NSCN (IM) battalions and one brigade. However, the NSCN-IM, the Zeliangrong Youth Front and Zeliangrong Students Union Manipur claimed that five NSCN (IM) cadres and a civilian got killed in the encounter.
The deceased have been identified as RD Punsi Anal of Chandel, ‘Lieutenant’ Albert of Phaibung and ‘private’ Hingba of Maram Khullen (Senapati district), ‘private’ Kadun Maring of Langol, ‘sergeant major’ Soreingam of Singya village (Ukhrul district) and Nanao Tarao believed to be a Shaktiman driver. According to the ZUF, ‘brigadier’ Sounii Poumai takes care of NP Battalion of Tamenglong district, AC Battalion of Chandel district, Pisubung Battalion of Ukhrul district and Hothong Brigade located in Senapati district. The ZUF claimed that bullets had hit the chest of the ‘brigadier’ who is the commander during the operations against the ZUF/ZTF on October 7.
According to the Manipur police, six cadres of NSCN (IM), one civilian were killed and other five critically wounded in a fierce gun battle between the outfit and proscribed Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) in Tamenglong district, a police source said. The heavy fighting took place in an area between Laishom Village and Khoupum village under khoupum police station, Tamenglong district at around 7 pm last night, police said. Among the dead, one was stated to be a civilian and the other six were NSCN cadres, they said. The injured were also cadres of the outfit. However, it is not clear whether the ZUF suffered casualty on their side.
The incident happened when a group of NSCN (IM) cadres heading towards Khoupum village were ambushed by a group of ZUF cadres near Leishom near Khoupum, bordering Churachandpur, Tamenglong and Bishnupur districts, according to the police. A team of police from the concerned area police station rushed to the spot today and the bodies were recovered. The police team reached Khoupum village in the evening. The bodies will be brought here and later they will be deposited at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) morgue for post mortem examination, the police said.
Meanwhile, the ZUF said cadres of NSCN (IM) in large number came to the Khoupum area yesterday at around 3 pm and attacked the ZUF/ZTF cadres at around 6 pm and a shoot out ensued between the two groups which lasted for an hour. The ZUF also said another nine cadres of the NSCN (IM) were captured by the former but due to the fervent appeals made by the Zeliangrong organisations, it released the nabbed cadres of the NSCN (IM). The ZUF appealed to the general public to be aware of the evil design of the NSCN (IM). The Zeliangrong outfit then expressed regret over the dead of the NSCN (IM) cadres while terming them as ‘innocent Naga brothers’. It said the outfit does not want any bloodshed to happen in ‘our society in future.’