In a disturbing turn of events, a Manipur Police commando lost his life in an attack in the border town of Moreh, located 110 km from the state capital Imphal. The assailants targeted a security post near Moreh, throwing bombs and engaging in gunfire. The incident resulted in the tragic death of Wangkhem Somorjit, an IRB personnel attached to the state police commando in Moreh. Somorjit, hailing from Malom in Imphal West district, fell victim to the assailants’ assault. Moreover, the attackers employed RPG shells, causing damage to several vehicles in the vicinity.
The latest bout of violence adds to the ongoing tension in the region, marked by significant protests from Kuki groups. The unrest stems from the police’s arrest of two tribals implicated in the killing of a police officer. A video capturing the clash depicts armed attackers forcefully repelling a security truck attempting to enter Moreh. The incident occurs against the backdrop of a total curfew imposed by the Manipur government from midnight on January 16 due to the perceived risk of a breach of peace and threats to public safety in Tengnoupal.
The district magistrate’s order outlines exceptions to the curfew for government agencies involved in law enforcement and essential services. The arrest of Phillip Khongsai and Hemokholal Mate, suspected in the killing of SDPO Ch Anand in October, prompted strong condemnation from Moreh-based civil bodies, including Kuki Inpi Tengnoupal. The Kuki tribes demand the removal of state police from Moreh, advocating for the presence of central forces only. Allegations against the police by Kuki groups claim attacks on civilians, a charge refuted by Manipur Police, attributing the attacks to hill-based insurgents.
The Manipur violence, ongoing since May 3, 2023, has claimed over 180 lives, leading to thousands being internally displaced. The recent incident underscores the delicate security situation and the complex interplay of ethnic and political tensions in the region.