Leimaram shoot-out: Two more bodies found, civilian among 5 killed
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 04 2009: With the recovery of two more bodies, number of casualties in the shoot-out between armed activists and security forces at Leimaram area has climbed to five while three others have been apprehended.

Among the victims include four cadres KYKL-MDF (Military Defence Force) and a civilian, while a journalist is also among the three persons arrested by a combined team of Bishnupur police commandos and troops of 73 Mountain Brigade.

speaking to newspersons in connection with the incident that began last evening, SP (Bishnupur) Konsam Jayentakumar said based on specific information about presence of heavily armed cadres of the KYKL-MDF at Leimaram, Waroiching, Tingkai Khunou/Khullen, Ichum Kom and Kha-Aimol areas, Bishnupur district police commandos and the army troops of 57 Mountain Division were put on high alert.

The recovered arms and ammunition

The security teams had also been conducting searches in and around these villages since October 1, the SP said adding that at about 5.30 pm a commando team stationed near Leimaram Shanti Keithel observed a white colour Maruti car (MN01W/3291) coming from the direction of Waroiching and halted the same for verification of the occupants.

Even as the identification process was on, a Tata DI mini truck (MN04A/1349) was seen approaching from the same direction (Waroiching) and the occupants in combat fatigues (KYKL-MDF cadres) fired at the police commandos resulting in a fierce gun-fight.

In the initially fire-fight, a havildar of the 2nd IRB, namely Gin Gouthang (30), of Pearsonmun village in Churachandpur, attached to Bishnupur police commando unit, was wounded, recounted the SP while stating that with the Maruti car occupants asked to lie low, the commando personnel engaged the heavily armed KYKL-MDF cadres killing one of them and recovered an M-16 rifle.

with the other security force personnel deployed nearby cutting off possible escape routes of the fleeing UGs, sporadic encounters ensued till late night, Jayentakumar said.

After gunning down the second KYKL-MDF cadre near a paddy field in Leimaram Mamang Leikai and recovering one UMG, another of the fleeing militants was slain at Tingkai Khunou area by the combined security team who also recovered an AK-56 rifle from the deceased.

using search lights the combined team launched operation that reportedly continued till dawn during which another cadre could be gunned down atop Tingkai Khunou hill-slope and a UBGL (A-4) recovered, said the SP.

describing as unfortunate the recovery of a civilian's body from a drain at the spot where the first clash took place, Jayentakumar suggested that the person might be a victim of the UG firing.

He also contended that commando personnel were constrained to resort to retaliatory action with extreme caution as there were a number of people at the evening market in Leimaram Shanti Keithel.

The SP further revealed that on preliminary investigation it came to light that the three Maruti Car occupants comprised of an MDF supporter and two activists of the newly formed outfit, tasked to clear the way for the armed cadres that followed in the Tata DI.

The arrested trio have been identified as heikham Thanil alias Newton (18) s/o Tonjing of Tumukhong Mayai Leikai in Imphal East district, Yambem Biren (36) s/o (L) Kriti of Bashikhong and Hijam Priyokumar (38) s/o Heitoiyaima of Naoremthong Shamushang lairembi Leirak.

Thanil is informed to have been undergone training in Myanmar while Priyokumar identified himself as a mechanic of Excel automobile workshop which is located at Sangaiprou.

The SP also disclosed that the Tata DI which was carrying firewoods and charcoal was hijacked by the Maruti car occupants from near Leimaram Kangjeibung shortly before the first shoot-out.

The seized weapons and assorted ammunition put on display before newspersons at the SP's office/office premises included one UMG along with a magazine and 300 live rounds, an AK-57 rifle with one magazine and 13 rounds, one M-16 with a magazine and 16 rounds, one UBGL with one mortar shell, a Chinese hand-grenade, photographs, one digital camera, a mini tape recorder and the two vehicles.

Nambol police have begun further investigation into the incident along with the registration of a case. Meanwhile, the deceased civilian has been identified as one Konsam Ningthemjao (41) s/o (L) Ibotombi of Nambol Leimapokpam but was staying at his wife's maternal home in Leimaram Mamang Leikai.

It is being speculated that Ningthem, an AMWAY agent, might have been caught in the crossfire while returning home after purchasing mobile recharge card.

Ningthem left behind his wife, one son and three daughters.

sources informed that with the acknowledgement that Ningthemjao was an innocent civilian, an agreement had been reportedly reached with the State Government for paying ex-gratia to family members of the deceased and provision for a suitable Government job to the next of kin after which the body was claimed on completion of post mortem at RIMS morgue today.

Earlier in the day, a protest demonstration was held at Leimaram.

Meanwhile, rejecting police claim that the person found shot dead inside the Tata DI vehicle was a UG activists, family sources insisted that he was a firewood/charcoal trader.

As his goods were on the vehicle the victim, whom family members identified as Wahengbam Lalit (45) s/o Nilakomol of Thinungei Makha Leikai, reportedly insisted on boarding the hijacked vehicle only to fall as another victim.

identities of the three KYKL-MDF cadres are yet to be established.

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