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Nine killed in Manipur as violence peaks


Imphal : At least nine people, including a paramilitary trooper, were killed in separate insurgency-related violence in Manipur even as security forces in strength have been deployed in vulnerable areas, officials said Friday.

A police spokesman said three volunteers of the Anti-Narcotic and Drug Organisation (ANDO), a non-governmental group spearheading a campaign to eliminate drug abuse in the state, were shot dead Thursday near Wangoi in Imphal West district, close to state capital Imphal.

"Unidentified militants shot at the three ANDO workers from close range. Two of them were killed near the magistrate's office complex in Wangoi and another was shot dead a little further by the same rebels on motorcycle," police official B. Singh said.

The immediate provocation for the killing of the three anti-drugs workers was not known.

"This is a highly condemnable incident as these three men who were killed were involved in working towards ending the drug menace in the state," Naorem Mema, ANDO president, told IANS.

The problem of drug abuse in the state is very serious. Manipur lies on the heroin producing 'golden triangle' of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand and independent estimates have put the number of regular injectable drug users, a key cause of HIV infection in the state, at close to 200,000.

In another incident, a trooper of the Manipur Rifles was killed in an encounter Thursday with the rebels of the outlawed Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) near village Gapizang in Senapati district, about 80 km from Imphal.

"A posse of Manipur Rifles was on way to a Gapizang area to conduct a raid following reports of rebel movement. The militants fired at the soldiers from a hilltop killing one trooper on the spot," the police official said.

Militants of the Kuki National Front (KNF) shot dead five of its cadre Thursday for allegedly deserting their camps with weapons.

"The five were executed for fleeing the camp with weapons. We have recovered all the weapons," Gebron Kuki, a spokesman of the KNF, said in a statement Friday.

Both the KRA and the KNF are fighting for independent homeland for the minority Kuki tribe in Manipur, bordering Myanmar.

"We have intensified security in all vulnerable areas," the police official said.

There are some 19-odd-rebel groups active in Manipur demands of which range from secession to autonomy to right to self-determination.

More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Manipur, bordering Myanmar, during the past two decades.