| The vehicle that was damanged in the IED blast near Lamlai. Picture by Eastern Projections
Imphal, Nov. 26: Manipur deputy speaker Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh today escaped a militant attack when he was returning home from a wedding at health minister Pheiroijam Parijat Singh’s residence at Lamlai in Imphal East district.
Shyamkumar Singh’s five-vehicle convoy was travelling from Lamlai to his Itham Moirang Purel residence when an IED planted near a wooden bridge between Oksu and Nigthemcha villages went off.
The militants, who were lying in wait, opened fire immediately after the explosion, forcing the deputy speaker and those travelling with him to lie down by the roadside.
“My security guards retaliated immediately. The exchange of fire lasted for nearly half-an-hour,” said Singh.
The attack came after a bomb blast along his route in Imphal East district around 1.45am.
Singh’s vehicle escaped unscathed but the last vehicle in his convoy, which was carrying his security guards, received the full impact of the blast.
“The bomb exploded right under our vehicle,” said an India Reserve Battalion guard who escaped unhurt.
However, two of his security guards and his driver were wounded in the explosion.
The injured IRB personnel were identified as havildar Karot Lung, 56, from Jaluki in Nagaland, 35-year-old rifleman T. Shyam Kom from Sugnu in Bishnupur district and Md Wajit Uddin, a driver of the Assembly secretariat.
The injured were admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru hospital and discharged after being treated for minor injuries. “This is an act of cowardice and these militants are enemies of the people,” the deputy speaker told journalists.
The sub-divisional police officer of Imphal East, T. Ngasangba, said the police launched a search operation but there were no reports of any encounter between the search party and the militants.
The police are yet to identify the group behind the attack. Police reinforcements have been rushed to the area.
NSCN clash: In an unrelated incident, two factions of the NSCN clashed at Noney Part-II in Manipur’s Tamenglong district this morning.
No casualties were reported so far.
An army source said two groups of the NSCN (I-M) and NSCN (K) exchanged gunfire at village Zukhanbi in Noney Part-II at 9.30am today.
The source said the army reported the clash to the ceasefire monitoring cell in Dimapur and told the two rival factions to restrain their cadre.