| Security personnel inspect the blast site in Imphal.
File picture |
Imphal, Nov. 26: Militants of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) today claimed responsibility for yesterday’s bomb blast in the heart of the city that killed an Assam Rifles jawan and wounded a shopkeeper.
The jawan, who was wounded in yesterday’s blast, died at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here late last night. The shopkeeper is out of danger.
The improvised explosive device (IED) was planted near the gate of a water reservoir of the public health engineering department in the busy Keishampat area. It was triggered by remote control.
A patrol party from the 40 Assam Rifles battalion was resting at the site when the bomb exploded.
The UNLF’s publicity officer, M. Sak-Hen, said in a statement today that the blast was targeted at the Assam Rifles patrol party and was carried out by the “demolition squad” of its “urban guerrilla warfare team”.
The attack was in retaliation to “atrocities” committed by the Assam Rifles and the army on civilians in the name of counter-insurgency operations, it said.
It said the team took utmost caution to avoid civilian casualties.
If civilians had not mingled with the Assam Rifles personnel, at least three jawans could have been killed.
Expressing regret for injuring a civilian in the attack, the UNLF said it would continue to target central forces.
This is the second time in a month that the UNLF has attacked an Assam Rifles patrol party in the city. On October 26, its cadres had exploded an IED near the northern gate of the Kangla fort here. An Assam Rifles jawan was injured in the attack.
Despite strong pressure from the Centre and stepped up counter-insurgency operations, the UNLF central committee had announced on its foundation day, November 24, that it would continue its armed struggle. The outfit had also called for a plebiscite in 2005 to end the armed conflict in Manipur.
Taking serious note of yesterday’s attack, which came when Imphal is holding a tourism festival, police today frisked all vehicles entering the city.
A large number of foreigners are in the city at present to attend the Sangai festival and the international polo tournament that is on at Mapal Kangjeibung.
People residing around yesterday’s blast site today staged a sit-in at the spot to denounce the militant action.
Suspected militants exploded another IED at Bishnupur Bazar, 30km south of this city, at 7 this morning. No one was hurt and no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion yet.