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HomeSocial and PoliticalViolenceManipur in Turmoil: 13 Bodies Discovered during Village Gunfight

Manipur in Turmoil: 13 Bodies Discovered during Village Gunfight

Unfolding Tragedy in Leithao Village

In a tragic incident on Monday, Manipur witnessed one of the deadliest days in the past six months, with at least 13 lives lost during a violent clash in Leithao village near Saibol in the Tengnoupal district.

A gunfight erupted between two groups in the tranquil Leithao village, disrupting the peace that had prevailed since tensions first flared up in the state on May 3.

Security forces swiftly responded to the reports of the gunfight, arriving at the scene to discover 13 bodies in Leithao village. Disturbingly, no weapons were found next to the deceased, as revealed by an anonymous defense officer.

The victims, succumbing to gunshot wounds, were not residents of Leithao, according to preliminary inquiries. It was suggested that they had entered the village around 8:30 am, with some reportedly carrying arms. Leithao village, consisting of nine houses and approximately 120 residents, became the battleground between village defense volunteers (VDFs) armed with licensed weapons and the armed assailants.

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The identity and ethnicity of the deceased remain unconfirmed by the police or security forces. Suspicions have arisen that the individuals might be militants from Myanmar, considering the nearby hills are often used as a route for militants entering Manipur. The police are actively investigating the matter.

On Monday night, senior police officers took custody of the 13 bodies, preparing for their transportation to Imphal. The village secretary reported that on Sunday night, villagers had observed the movement of militants. Aadhaar cards belonging to three individuals from Manipur were recovered, hinting at the possibility of others being from Myanmar.

The village headman recounted the vigilant response of the women in the village, who detected over 20 armed militants attempting to enter. Alerted by the women, VDFs engaged in a gun battle for over half an hour, resulting in 13 casualties. Some assailants managed to flee into the jungle.

The incident was reported to the Assam Rifles office, and the police took charge of the deceased. The ongoing clashes between the Meiteis and Kukis ethnic groups in Manipur since May 3 have claimed at least 182 lives, leaving around 50,000 people homeless.

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As the state grapples with recurring violence, the government has decided to reinstate internet services across Manipur, except for buffer zones. These zones, with a radius of approximately 2 km, connect valley districts with hill districts.

The recent eruption of violence has once again disrupted the fragile peace in Manipur. Ongoing investigations and further inquiries aim to shed light on the identities and motivations behind this tragic incident. The situation remains critical, with the restoration of internet services expected to reveal more details.

By: Aisha Algazal, Reporting from Uttar Pradesh for True to Life

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