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Rebels spell double trouble for Ibobi
Ambush targets army patrol

- Militants strike twice in two days

Imphal, Nov. 23: Two army personnel and a sniffer dog were injured when United National Liberation Front (UNLF) militants ambushed an army foot petrol in Manipur’s Imphal West district early this morning.

Police said the militants simultaneously triggered two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), planted at a distance of 20ft by the roadside at Konthoujam along Imphal-Jiribam highway, by remote control.

The ambushed army personnel allegedly beat up six farmers working in a nearby field.

Local Trinamul Congress legislator K. Sarat condemned the explosion.

The UNLF, a major group fighting for Manipur’s sovereignty, claimed to have carried out the ambush in a statement issued by its central committee today, just ahead of its 38th foundation day tomorrow.

It reiterated its demand of holding a plebiscite to resolve the armed conflict in Manipur. Refusing to hold talks with the government, it said the conflict could only be resolved with restoration of Manipur’s sovereignty.

The outfit said it was proud of the firm stand taken by its chairman Sana Yaima (alias R.K. Meghen), though he is in the custody of the National Investigation Agency. It said the NIA has accepted the truth that Yaima and the other leaders in its custody (in Guwahati) are fighting for the restoration of Manipur’s sovereignty. It cautioned the Centre against disturbing Manipur’s boundary while settling the problem of the NSCN (Isak-Muivah). It stated that with the people and other armed groups of Manipur, the UNLF would resist attempts to disturb the state’s integrity.

“The indigenous peoples of this land (Manipur) have been interdependent, with common origins, common ancestry and have shared this region and habitat. There may be petty squabbles among them, but they have lived as inseparable communities so far,” it stated.

The UNLF blamed the Centre’s “divide and rule” policy for the division among communities and urged the valley people to initiate the “historical” transformation of their collective multi-ethnic revolution. It said it would continue to fight for independence and autonomy at all levels and create a system where respect for identities and traditions, co-existence of all communities, prosperity in equality, justice and freedom existed.

The group also expressed concern over influx and said it was impossible to prevent it under the existing system in the country.