Mokot shoot out death toll rises to 5
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 08, 2009: The death toll in the Mokot Chepu shoot out has risen to five along with recovery of the body of another slain KLA cadre today.

In the shoot out, which took place yesterday evening, between troops of 12 Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) and armed cadres of KLA, which is a signatory of Suspension of Operation with the Centre and the State Government near Mokot Chepu village, located around 1 km from Litan Police Station in Ukhrul district, four persons including a civilian driver and three KLA cadres were killed.

Womenfolk block the Imphal-Ukhrul road to protest the killing and the seized arms

Along with recovery of the body of another slain KLA cadre, the MLI troops handed over the same to Litan police station today morning.

Though the identity of the four slain KLA cadres have not yet been confirmed, according to sources, they were suspected to Phangkhochon Haokip (27) s/o Letsei of Changnomphai village, Churachandpur district; Lonkholam Haokip (25) s/o Jampao of Moreh Ward no.7 (Chavangphai village), Chandel district; Lallunlen Killong (23) s/o Mangcha of Aigejang village, Senapati District and Thanglenmang (24) s/o Jankholal of Phaimol village, Senapati District.

According to the report furnished by the MLI to the police in connection with the shoot-out, on receipt of specific information about the movement of armed UG activists along the stretch of National Highway 150 from Ukhrul to Lamlai, an operation was launched from 4 pm yesterday.

At around 6.45 pm, the troops were stationing at Mokot Chepu when a civil truck was seen coming from the side of Ukhrul.

To verify the occupants, the troops stopped the truck but came under firing attack.

In the resulting encounter, three armed persons were killed while the body of another was recovered in the subsequent search of the area.

One MLG with magazine loaded with 10 live rounds of ammunition, one M-16 Rifles with magazine loaded with 9 rounds of ammunition, one M-22 Rifles with magazine loaded with 9 ammunition, one AK-47 and three magazines with 22 bullets, one G-3 Rifles with magazine loaded with 20 live rounds of ammunition, one American Rifles with magazine loaded with 16 live rounds of ammunition, one Rifles grenade and two magazine pouches were recovered from the site of the encounter.

On the other hand, though the identity of the slain civilian truck driver has been identified as Sairem Mahendra alias Ngoubram alias Nobo (41) s/o late Modhu of Kongpal Chanam Leikai, a co-driver identified as Premananda who had accompanied Mahendra, informed that the whereabouts of a labourer/porter has not been known after the incident.

A resident of Khurai Chingangbam Leikai Ayangpalli, Haorangbam Premananda (33) s/o late Ibotomba recalled that the incident of shoot out took place while the truck (NL-01A/2892) was returning from transporting the grocery items picked up from Imphal to JNV, Ukhrul at Lambui.

Premananda said in all six of them including himself, Mahendra, handyman Yaima (23) of Laipham Khunou and three porters/labourers, Kiran of Yairipok, Modhu of Kiyamgei and Gopen of Lilong Arapti were coming back to Imphal in the truck.

At around 6 pm, they made entry at Litan Police Station.

After the truck started moving, three Yamaha motor cycle borne youths stopped the truck and one of them climbed up.

The truck was made to be stopped just after crossing the Litan bridge and some soon after two unidentified armed persons who spoke Kuki in dialect, dressed in combat fatigue and equipped with sophisticated weapons, climbed up inside the front tank cabin of the truck while some others behind.

However, the first youth who boarded the truck alighted and left along with his two motor-cycle borne youths.

The armed persons asked the driver to drop them at Mahadeva.

As the truck was approaching Mokot Chepu, Army personnel signalled to stop from a distance.

Soon after two more Army vehicles also arrived one after another.

When the last Army vehicle arrived, all the civilians in the truck were commanded to come out .

Accordingly they came out and were made to lie face down on the road.

But all of sudden, there was exchanged of uninterrupted firing.

To save his live, he slipped down the embankment of Thoubal river and ran from there.

When he arrived at Yaingangpokpi towards dawn, he caught the first bus and came to Imphal.

Of the remaining five, Mahendra had been confirmed killed while three others have safely reached JNV at Lambui.

But the whereabouts of Gopen is still not known, Pramananda said.

Meanwhile, in protest against the Mokot Chepu shoot out, agitated people have blocked the Imphal-Ukhrul Road at Gwaltabi since last night.

As a consequent, all the Imphal bound vehicles coming from Ukhrul have been stranded near Litan Police Station even as the Ukhrul bound vehicles from Imphal have turned back.

Later during the say today, IG (Law and Order) III V Zathang visited the area to take first hand account of the shoot out incident and the prevailing situation.

After the police officer gave his assurance of investigating into the incident, the protestors lifted the road block since late afternoon.

However, fearing of the worst, no vehicles have left from here.

Along with calling a bandh in the Moreh town in protest over the Mokot Chepu incident with effect from 2 pm today, an all communities meeting held at the office of Hill Tribal Council, Moreh has decided to impose an indefinite road block along Imphal-Moreh Road, according to our Moreh correspondent.

Meanwhile, the JAC formed in connection with the incident has strongly condemned the killing 'four Kuki youths and one Meitei truck driver at Litan area'.

In a statement jointly signed by its convenors Kamthang and Heinei Haokip, the Joint Action Committee Against the Killing of 5 Persons by Indian Security Forces asserted that the five victims, Thangkhochon, Lunkholam Haokip, Lallunllen Kilong, Thanglenmang and the truck driver were killed while in custody of the security forces.

The gory incident happened on September 7 at around 5.30 pm in full view of eyewitnesses after the victims were told to alight from the truck and shot down at point blank, the JAC said, adding that this told disregard to human rights will never be condoned by the JAC and the whole citizens of Manipur.

The JAC has also appreciated the people who had helped and supported the bandh called in protest against the security forces.

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