At least five persons, including a policeman, were killed and 12 others injured after fresh violence erupted on Sunday in Manipur where ethnic violence has claimed the lives of at least 80 people in the last month.Fresh violence was reported in several parts of the state after alleged terrorists, carrying sophisticated weapons, set fire to many houses in the Serou and Sugunu areas, reports ndtv.com.
The fresh round of violence comes hours ahead of Union home minister Amit Shah's scheduled visit to the violence-hit state on Monday.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said on Sunday that nearly 40 armed militants involved in torching houses and firing at civilians had been killed by security forces since they began an operation to bring peace to the north eastern state beset by ethnic rioting.
The latest clashes began after the army and para-military forces commenced combing operations to de-arm communities in order to bring peace, officials said.
The Chief Minister who was interacting with the media persons at the state secretariat, claimed the latest round of “conflict is not between communities but between militants and security forces”.
Singh also said that there had been cases of armed militants firing at civilians with AK-47s, M-16 and sniper rifles. These militants were targeted by security forces in counter-attacks.
The CM appealed to the public not to hinder the movement of security personnel and urged them to have "faith in the government and support the security forces." "We have experienced hardship for so long and we will never allow the state to disintegrate," Singh said.
He said many militants involved in killing civilians and destroying property and torching houses have been captured by the Jat regiment.
The Chief Minister said the government is also "deeply saddened by the casualties on both sides" and assured "all possible steps in bringing back normalcy".
He said the spurt in violent attacks on civilian houses in the peripheral areas of the Imphal valley seemed well-planned. Singh termed it as "strongly condemnable ... especially when Minister of State Nityanand Rai is in Manipur and group peace missions are being formed to bring back peace".
Singh said 38 vulnerable areas have been identified and that the state police has been conducting operations there.