TODAY -
One UG slain in 'Op Thunderbolt'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 04 2009: Atleast one suspected under-ground cadre has been gunned down by security forces in Loktak Lake area, where the Army under the command of 73rd Mountain Brigade, conducted search operation on the northern side of the Lake since yesterday.

Along with one AK-56 rifle, two magazines and 79 live rounds body of the UG cadre slain in the Loktak Operation has been handed over to Wangoi police from where the corpse had been subsequently brought to RIMS morgue for identification.

Army troops reportedly swooped in towards the largest fresh water lake of the region from two directions with a column of the 12 Maratha Light Infantry launching the counter-insurgency offensive from Yangoikhongbal village under Wangoi police station of Imphal West district and personnel of the 4/8 Gorkha Regiment flushing out the insurgents from the side of Ishok and Toubul areas of Bishnupur district.



The hut destroyed in Op Thunderbolt and (Inset) weapons/items recovered from the slain UG


The Central security forces have also destroyed three thatched huts in the lake likely to be hideouts of cadres belonging to two different armed outfits, said a source while adding that commando personnel of Imphal West and Bishnupur districts are being deployed at strategic locations within their respective jurisdictions in the periphery of the Lake to take on the fleeing UGs.

It is reported that helicopters were also used in the operation that began at around 11 pm yesterday and continued till 1 pm today.

A group of mediapersons, who attempted to advance to the operation site today, was prevented by security forces from venturing further beyond Upokpi village under Wangoi police station.

According to some Wapokpi villagers, large number of security force personnel trooped in towards Loktak lake from about 9 pm yesterday and prevented civilians from venturing into the area at an adjoining place between Wangoi Upokpi and Mayang Imphal Shantipur.

Recounting that gunshots were heard from about 11 pm, the villagers further claimed to have seen the security force personnel returning from the Lake with three dug-outs, one tin of cooking oil, a television set, clothes and ladder likely to have been used by the UG cadres.

Confirming the report, a statement issued by the PRO IGAR (S) said an encounter ensued between troops of 12 Maratha Light Infantry and UG cadres on the river bank of Nambol Turel (river) at around 1 am of November 4 resulting in the elimination of a UG cadre and recovering of the AK series rifle and ammunition from the slain person.

Meanwhile, a PIB (DW) statement said the counter insurgency campaign code-named 'Op Thunderbolt' was launched by troops of 57 Mountain Division, 9 Sector Assam rifles, and commandos of Imphal West and Bishnupur districts based on information provided by locals where were fed up of UG activities.

The joint forces launched a lightning strike on three specific hideouts which resulted in the 'elimination and apprehension' of three cadres, busting of three hideouts and recovery of two AK 47 rifles, one M-16 rifles, two lathode launchers, two pistols and a huge quantity of arms, explosives and warlike stores, added the statement.

Pointing out that the successful operation high-lights synergy between the security forces and police in Manipur in breaking the myth of impregnability of Loktak Lake, the statement added 'it has also demonstrated the professionalism of the security forces to strike offensively and precisely in areas that the UG groups always considered their safe haven'.


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