Three members of the Kuki tribe killed in Manipur’s Ukhrul district

Three members of the Kuki tribe were killed by unidentified gunmen in the wee hours of Friday, August 18th, in the Ukhrul district of Manipur.

Three members of the Kuki tribe killed in Manipur's Ukhrul district

Armed miscreants gunned down three members of the Kuki community in Ukhrul district of Manipur on Friday morning, officials confirmed. Police said that the incident took place around 4.30am on August 18th, at Thouwai Kuki, a village inhabited by the Kuki tribe, located around 47km from Ukhrul town, the headquarters of the district, which is dominated by Tangkhuls, a Naga tribal community. 

“According to our information, a group of armed miscreants approached the village from the hills located to the east of the village and started firing at village guards. Three people from the village have been killed in the incident. There are no reports of any injuries”, said N Vashum, superintendent of police (SP) of Ukhrul district. Vashum added that the security measures have been beefed up following the killing and joint operations by the state police and the Indian Army are underway to nab those involved. 

“The incident is related to the ongoing ethnic problem in the state. Some armed miscreants entered the village and these three people who were guarding the village were shot. The firing has stopped in the area and security forces comprising the Army and police have moved into the area” Vashum said. 

The three killed have been identified as Thangkhokai Haokip, Jamkhogin Haokip and Hollenson Baite. The Ukhrul SP said the three were reportedly village guards entrusted with guarding the village. He also said, since the village is in a remote location, the nearest security post is around 3km away because of which security personnel were not present at the time of the shooting.

Earlier, on August 5th, five persons—three Meiteis and two Kukis—were murdered in a separate shootout between the two communities at Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts of Manipur.

Ethnic conflict between Kukis and Meiteis in Manipur first broke out on May 3rd in Churachandpur town after Kuki groups called for protests against a proposed tweak to the state’s reservation matrix, granting scheduled tribe (ST) status to the valley-based dominant Meitei community.

Meiteis account for nearly 53% of the state population while Kukis comprise around 16%.

Violence quickly engulfed the state where ethnic fault lines run deep, displacing tens of thousands of people who fled burning homes and neighbourhoods into forests, often across state borders.

The ethnic violence in Manipur has claimed over 160 lives and displaced around 50,000 from both communities. Several attempts to restore peace in the state have failed, while distrust and hostility between the communities have grown manifold.

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