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Violence hits Manipur border trade

Correspondent

Tension mounts; traders and tourists are not able to move around


Bomb blasts at Namphalong hotels Junta seals off border Combing operations launched but no one is arrested

IMPHAL: Trade at the international market along the Manipur-Myanmar border has been disrupted from the beginning of this year following a recrudescence of insurgency-related violence. With tension mounting, traders, tourists and insurgents of all hues have not been able to move around.

On January 8, two bombs exploded in two small hotels at Namphalong, killing two persons and wounding four others. There was no claim by any insurgent group. In the past, firing took place at the Namphalong market, just across the border gate in Myanmar. After the market was torched twice, heavily armed military personnel are guarding it round the clock.

Border sealed

Following the latest incident, the Myanmarese junta sealed off the border. Business was shut down and the movement of all sections banned. The Indian Army sent reinforcements to the border areas for a combing operation. However, no insurgent has been arrested on either side.

Strike at border town

Soon after the twin bomb blasts at Namphalong, a general strike was called at Moreh. And before normality returned to the border town, 24 Assam Rifles personnel gunned down a carpenter at Chawangphai village. Residents alleged he was deliberately singled out and killed. But an Assam Rifles spokesman said six suspects, on seeing the personnel, tried to flee despite a warning.

Shots were fired at the fleeing "armed persons" and in the process the carpenter was fatally hit.

Rejecting this version, the Kuki Women's Union on Human Rights, the Hill Tribal Council, the Kuki Students' Organisation and the Chwangphai Administrative Committee launched a strike.

It was suspended following an understanding with Assam Rifles personnel.

On Saturday, insurgents in an ambush killed two personnel of 32 Assam Rifles at Tengoupal, about 30 km from Moreh.

All sorts of foreign goods are available at the Namphalong market, constructed in 1995.

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