Imphal: Five Kuki-zo militants were nabbed by security forces, two on Monday and three on Tuesday at Phaitol village in Tamenglong district and Hengjol village in Kangpokpi district respectively.

In response to the apprehending of the militants Kuki Apex body, Kuki Inpi Manipur, has imposed a 12-hour (6am to 6pm)Total Shutdown across Kuki-Zo dominated areas on Wednesday.

The shutdown was announced following an emergency meeting held by the Kuki body.

Kuki Inpi expressed concern over the ‘recent arrests’, which they see as a significant threat to the safety and security of the Kuki-Zo people.

It said initially, the deployment of central security forces in vulnerable areas provided a sense of safety. However, the arrest of the five individuals has alarmed the community, which had been cooperating with law enforcement.

It highlighted the issue of valley based militant groups ‘openly brandishing sophisticated arms and ammunition in the valley’.

The Kuki body called upon all Kuki-Zo regional organisations to support the shutdown and to push for the demand for a Union Territory with a legislature for the Kuki-Zo people.

Police said a combined team of 39 Assam Rifles and CRPF on Monday early morning apprehended two individuals including one juvenile along with three single barrel guns from Phaitol village after armed assailants attacked towards Manipur police and Manipur fire Service.

The combined security forces apprehended the two individuals during search operation after the firing from Phaitol village bordering Jiribam district. The combined team also seized huge amounts of arms, ammunitions and explosive from the village, police said.

On Tuesday a combined team of central forces including CRPF, AR and Manipur police conducted a search operation at Hengjol village under New Keithelmanbi police station.

The combined team apprehended three suspected Kuki militants along with three AK series weapons and huge amounts of ammunitions and other combat equipment including clothing.

Women of the area gathered to stop the combined team. Security personnel fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Three women were injured in the security personnel action.

The Committee on Tribal Unity, another Kuki body, condemned the ‘arrests’, asserting that the detained individuals were village volunteers defending against attacks by valley-based radical Meitei militias.

It demanded immediate release of the armed persons and warned that any consequences resulting from failure to comply would be the responsibility of the authorities.

Jiri Apunba Lup, Jiribam have ‘strongly’ opposed the Press Communiqué issued by COTU, Sadar Hills Kangpokpi and another press condemnation of the so called Kuki-Zo Village Volunteer Vangailhang and Tilangkuol.

In the said press releases, they made many false and concocted allegations stating “the coordinated team of state police and VBIGs burnt down Kuki-Zo houses” and “indiscriminate firing towards Phaitol village by Police Commando” which are completely unacceptable, the Jiri organisation said.

In reality, the armed Kuki-Zo militants first set ablaze the Police Naka-Post located at Leingangpokpi and then attacked on Manipur Police and Fire service by using sophisticated weapons and bombs thereby damaging the Fire Brigade vehicle and even

Police vehicles and some houses of Leingangpokpi and Gularthol villages in the early hours of around 3:10 am of Monday. In response to their attack, Security forces retaliated so as to control the situation. After controlling the situation, the security forces made a search operation and two miscreants were arrested, it added.

On the same day, one farm-house of A. Somorendra Singh located at Lalpani was also set on fire by Kuki-Zo armed militants. The above incidents are the examples of illegal and inhuman activities carried out in series by the armed Kuki-Zo militants as part of their well-planned routine. Arresting of the two Kuki-Zo militants along with huge arms and ammunitions in connection with the incident by the 39h Assam Rifles is the clear evidence of their lies, it said.

“Therefore, we humbly appeal to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India not to trust the false narratives and allegations made by the Kuki-Zo people.”

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