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IED explodes near Assam Rifles camp

Imphal, Jan. 12: Militants today targeted an Assam Rifles hub in Imphal city by exploding an improvised explosive device (IED) filled with iron balls and nails near their gate.

No one was injured in the blast. However, the blast exposed “lapses” in the security measures of the area, which also has a police complex where police commandos live with their families.

Police said it was the handiwork of militants. However, no militant group claimed responsibility for the blast.

The blast came on a day the Meitei community observed prosperity day, worshipping Emoinu, the local goddess of wealth, for prosperity in every Meitei household.

The police said the IED planted at the foot of a fenced wall of the Khuman Lampak sports complex at Minuthong exploded around 2.45am. It was a medium intensity bomb and was exploded with a remote-controlled device.

The police recovered a mobile phone, which was used for triggering the bomb at the site of the blast. The blast site is 30 metres southeast of the main entrance of the Assam Rifles transit camp, which is heavily guarded. Only a road divides the gate of the camp and the fenced wall.

The police said the blast did not cause any injury. It, however, caused minor damages to the fenced wall.

“Because of the chilly morning there was no traffic on the road passing near the Assam Rifles camp gate at the time of the blast. The sentries of the transit camp were also apparently inside the gate in a secure position when the blast took place. So no one was injured. If there was traffic it could have caused casualties,” a police officer who inspected the site later said.

The area is a security hub. In addition to the Assam Rifles camp, a complex of the police commandos is also located just behind the camp. However, the police said the target was the Assam Rifles camp.

“It is a high-security zone. Police and Assam Rifles personnel routinely patrol the area. Lapses in the security led to the planting of the IED,” a security official said.

Sources believed the Assam Rifles authorities had begun an internal inquiry to find out how the bomb was planted and exploded, unnoticed by the sentries of the transit camp.

This is the second time that the city experienced a bomb blast this year. On New Year’s day, two IEDs were exploded by militants at Pishumthong and Sapam Leikai in Singjamei in the city. No one was injured in the twin blasts.