Kuki tribal militant leader killed

By Iboyaima Laithangbam

A Kuki tribal militant leader identified as Letingthang Haokip, commander-in-chief of the proscribed Socialist Democratic Front of Kukiland, was killed in a fierce encounter at 1 a.m. on Friday in Churachandpur district.

Police sources said that based on specific information received about the presence of some armed militants, a combined team of 46 Assam Rifles personnel and personnel of Churachandpur district police headquarters rushed to the spot around midnight.

Police said this Kuki outfit is not a signatory to the Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the government. Refusing to sign the SoO, they have been at large all these years.

Police said that when the personnel of the combined team reached the outskirts of Khominthing village, the militants who had taken forced shelter there started opening fire towards the team.

After the exchange of fire, the personnel found the body of the commander-in-chief. Further, they identified Lungkhosei Chongloi, the bodyguard of the commander-in-chief, who was grievously wounded. He was rushed to J. N. Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, for treatment. Hospital sources said that his injuries are worrisome. He is reported to be from Saikul in Sadar Hills.

Other militants who were not injured reportedly fled the scene. The team is searching the nearby areas to look if any other bodies or injured militants are there. So far, no guns have been found.

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