Death toll rises to five including two civilians
Leimaram encounter

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, October 04 2009: The death toll in the encounter that began last night between troops of combined forces and a group of MDF cadres at Leimaram under Nambol police station and in the follow up counter insurgency operations which continued till about 7 this morning at surrounding villages in Bishnupur District has risen to five.

Last night three suspected cadres of MDF, a faction which split from KYKL, were shot dead in a gun-battle by Bishnupur District police commandos at Leimaram.

Three persons including a newspaper reporter were arrested along with arms and ammunitions and two vehicles were seized.

Bishnupur District SP, L Jayenta narrated how the operations were successfully conducted during a press conference held at his office chamber this afternoon.

SP Jayenta said, on receiving a reliable information that activists of KYKL (MDF) armed with sophisticated weapons were moving around, the District police commandos along with troops of 13 Mountain Brigade have been conducting search operations, frisking and checking in areas of Leimaram, Waroi Cheeng and Tingkai Khunnou (Tingkai Khullen) since October 1 .

As part of the continuing oparations, the combined force conducted the frisking and checking operations at Leimaram and neighbouring villages yesterday evening, the SP said.

The encounter took place between the group of UGs and the combined force at about 6 pm.

The incident happened at Shanti Bazar of Leimaram itself.

A team of District police commandos stopped a white colour Maruti car (MN-01- W3291) which came from Sadu Chiru side.There were three persons inside the car.

As soon as the police team started asking them questions for checking, some UGs in camouflage who came in a DI-Tata (MN-04 A-1349) started shooting at the commandos.

One Havildar of 2nd IRB attached to District police commando was hit by a bullet of the UGs.

Immediately, the commandos retaliated and a gun-fight ensued, the SP said.SP Jayenta told the media persons that one of the UGs on the DI-Tata was hit and killed.

One M-16 rifle along with a magazine with 16 live rounds were recovered from him.

SP Jayenta further revealed that on questioning the three persons who came in the Maruti car by the police commandos, one of them named Yambem Biren (36), son of Y Kriti, a resident of Bashikhong Kongba Irong, identified himself as the Chief Reporter of Sanaleibak, a Manipuri daily published in Imphal.

The other two persons were identified as Leikham Thanil @ Nutan (18), son of L Tonjing, of Tumukhong Mayai Leikai and Hijam Priyokumar (38), son of Hijam Heitoiyaima, of Naoremthong Samushang Lairembi Leirak.

Biren identified Priyokumar as one who is working at Excel Workshop located at Sangaiprou, and requested the police commandos not to hurt him.

SP Jayenta said, Hijam Priyokumar is an important activists of KYKL (MDF).

He had close link with the hardcore activist of KYKL, Great, who was killed in an encounter that took place at Hotel City Inn at North AOC, Imphal some months back.

Leikham Thanil @ Nutan is also an activist of KYKL (MDF).

His army number is 749.He has received basic military training in Myanmar.

Police recovered one tape recorder and one digital camera from the three.

Police including two civilians also found photographs in the camera in which Yambem Biren and Leikham Thanil posed holding M-16 rifle, SP Jayenta said and showed the photographs to the media persons.

He further said that the three persons in the Maruti car formed the advance party to clear line for the UGs who were following the car in the DI-Tata.

The UGs were planning to approach Ishok of Nambol towards the lake, and leave in a boat from there towards Thoubal via Mayang Imphal, the police officer said.

He further disclosed that the UGs in combat dress were first travelling in the same Maruti car.

But before reaching Shanti Bazar, they got off the car, and hijacked a DI-Tata which was unloading firewood and charcoal sacks, and led it towards the hills.

Then the UGs got into the DI-Tata and together drove down the hills towards the market.

The number of UGs could be around 13, SP Jayenta said.The driver of the DI-Tata stopped at Shanti Bazar and went to a fuel vendor to buy diesel.

Meanwhile, the UGs suddenly started opening fire at the police commandos.

The driver of the DI Tata ran inside a house, thus survived.

He has come to Bishnupur District police and surrendered.

He has given his statement.

However, since further investigation is yet to be done, the driver's name will not be disclosed at this point of time, the SP said.

As the combined force continued the operations till today morning, there were gun battles between the force and the UGs at Leimaram Maning Leikai and Tingkai Khullen areas, SP Jayenta said.

The arms and ammunitions recovered during the operations include one universal machine gun (UMG), 300 live rounds, one AK56 rifle, a magazine containing 13 live rounds, one M16 rifle, a magazine containing 16 live rounds, one under barrel gun (A4 rifle), one live shell, one China- made hand grenade, two vehicles, camera and tape recorder.

One of the two civilians killed in the incident has been identified as Konsam Ningthemjao (38), son of late Ibotombi of Leimapokpam Khunpham, at present staying at his wife's house at Leimaram.

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