Fri 29 Jun 2007
Filed under: News,On The Border
A spate of arms and ammunition seizures from border areas and passenger vehicles coming from Moreh by Indian troops, has led to tightening of security along the Indo-Burma highway.
Following the recent clashes between two rebel groups in Moreh, Indian forces deployed for counter-insurgency operations in Manipur’s border areas had increased vigilance along the Imphal- Moreh sector of the Indo-Burma route. Soldiers have been conducting rigorous searches of all vehicles on the highway, official sources said.
The troops of the 22 Maratha Light infantry posted in Khudengthabi, around 10 kilometre north of Moreh town in Manipur’s Chandel district intercepted a passenger vehicle (MN1K-4532) coming from the border town and seized nearly a thousand rounds of ‘unmarked’ ammunition from the vehicle on June 25 morning.
The force seized 945 rounds of “unmarked” AK-type ammunition in the vehicle. First hand information collected by the Inspector General Assam Rifles (South) suggests the ammunition was collected from a shop in Moreh, sources said.
It is not yet clear whether these are made locally or smuggled. A senior Assam Rifles officer said Indian made ammunition has a particular trade mark.
The ammunition was likely to be delivered to a bus parked somewhere in Thoubal district. The arrested person and the ammunition were later handed over to the Imphal west district police, he said.
A senior district police officer in Imphal west said over telephone that they had received only 258 rounds of unmarked ammunition along with the arrested man.
Similarly police commandoes seized one M-16, magazine with there live rounds, one M-79 grenade launcher and a lathode bomb from three gun runners from Chandel district on their way to deliver to a person called Rahul in Nagaland’s Dimapur town around 6.30 p.m.
A M-16, a magazine with five live rounds, a lethode bomb launcher, a calculator and two scooters were seized from another shop in the Indian border town last year.
Major General B K Chengapa, Inspector General of Assam Rifles, headquarters (South) based in Manipur’s Mantripukhuri sector near Imphal had earlier said that the disturbed environment in neighbouring Burma has led to inflow of arms and drugs to Manipur which in turn, has facilitated insurgency and terrorism in India’s north eastern states.
Besides in two separate raids conducted by Assam Rifles in the past 24 in Manipur led to the seizure of four SBBL rifles, one pistol and a huge quantity of ammunition from some members of the proscribed People’s United Liberation Front.
The troops also arrested two of its cadres following a tip off in Mayang Imphal village in Manipur in the wee hours of Thursday. There was no report of a fire fight during the two separate operations.
Unless the porous Indo-Burma border is properly fenced and checked, gun fights between various underground groups mushrooming by the day in Manipur will continue, observed a police officer based in Imphal.
There are around 20 insurgent groups operating in Manipur according to official reports available here. All the outfits belong to various ethnic communities and their objectives range from “restoring sovereignty” of the region to protecting the interest of their respective ethnic communities. Interestingly there are over 30 ethnic communities settled in Manipur state alone. As a result over the past couple of years violence and extortion has escalated.