Worst attack on Army in 20 years kills 20 armymen: All you need to know about Manipur ambush

In what could well be the worst attack on the Indian Army in two decades, insurgents on Thursday ambushed a military convoy in Manipur's Chandel district killing at least 20 army personnel and injuring 11 others.

FP Staff June 05, 2015 11:11:41 IST
Worst attack on Army in 20 years kills 20 armymen: All you need to know about Manipur ambush

In what could well be the worst attack on the Indian Army in two decades, insurgents on Thursday ambushed a military convoy in Manipur's Chandel district killing at least 20 army personnel and injuring 11 others.

Army and civilian authorities suspect the involvement of Manipur rebel outfit Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), a Meitei revolutionary organisation, who used landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

Worst attack on Army in 20 years kills 20 armymen All you need to know about Manipur ambush

Security personnel comb the site of Thursday attack in Manipur's Chander district . AFP

Site of the attack

The attack happened in Chandel district in Manipur, which is one of the nine districts of the state. The area is under the rule of Armed Powers Special Forces Act (AFSPA).  The area of attack is about 15-20 km away from the India-Myanmar border.

How it unfolded

On Thursday morning, at 9 am, a team of 6 Dogra Regiment was on a Road Opening Patrol (ROP) as part of its daily routine along Tengnoupal-New Samtal route, about 80 km from Imphal, when it was attacked by an insurgent outfit first with a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED), a police official in Manipur said.

After the IED blast, the insurgents resorted to heavy firing at the convoy of four Army vehicles with RPGs and automatic weapons, Army sources told PTI.

An Army spokesman said that the militants first fired rocket-propelled grenades at the four-vehicle convoy which was on its way to Imphal from Chandel. The ambush took place when the convoy reached between Paralong and Charong villages, reports Times of India

"Twenty armymen were killed and 11 injured in the attack," Army spokesman Col Rohan Anand said in New Delhi. A suspected insurgent was also killed. A reinforcement party of the security forces was rushed to the spot for combing operations to nab the militants. The injured have been airlifted to Dimapur in Nagaland for treatment.

Intelligence inputs ignored?

CNN-IBN reports claimed that the attack was well-planned and that the area was mapped using a local guide's help. A source told the news channel that the Centre had apparently been ignoring intelligence inputs of deploying border police in the area.

The Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur has been sealed to stop the insurgents fleeing to the neighbouring country an an all-out offensive has been launched to trace and eliminate the militants involved in the attack.

Taking stock of the situation, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a high-level meeting which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag and Nation Security Advisor Ajit Doval among others.

The central government also directed security forces in Nagaland and Manipur to be put on high alert to prevent any attempt by the militants to cause any more havoc.

Recently formed militant group United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia, of which NSCN(K) is a part, claimed responsibility for the ambush after Ulfa (I) leader Paresh Baruah called up local television channels claiming that the attacks were carried out under orders from its chairman SS Khaplang, The Times of India reports. The Hindustan Times, adds, quoting analysts, that the attack may have been provoked by the reported killing of a woman by soldiers this week.

'Mindless attack is very distressing', says PM Modi

Condemning the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Thursday’s mindless attack in Manipur is very distressing. I bow to each and every soldier who has sacrificed his life for the nation," he said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed anguish over the killing of the soldiers and said, "Deeply distressed after the news of attack on Army convoy in Manipur. We will not allow the sacrifices of our soldiers to go waste"

Congress President Sonia Gandhi called it a "dastardly and cowardly" attack.  "The killers of the vanguards of our national integrity will be brought to the book at the earliest," she added.

Offering his condolences to the families of the martyred soldiers, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said, "We stand with each of them in this hour of tragedy,"

Describing the incident as extremely unfortunate, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the government has taken up the matter very seriously. "Some people want to disrupt peace process. I extend my condolences to the families of martyred soldiers," he said.

(With agency inputs)

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