Six troopers were killed when an Assam Rifles convoy was ambushed on Sunday in Manipur’s Chandel district by insurgents of the Corcom, the apex body of six proscribed underground organisations, officials said.
The attackers also snatched four AK-47 assault rifles, an INSAS rifle, a light machine gun and ammunition, before fleeing the spot.
The defence ministry said six personnel including a junior commissioned officer were killed.
However, Assam Rifles and police, while confirming the incident, declined to disclose the exact casualty figures.
In New Delhi, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday met top officials, including of intelligence agencies, and directed security forces to take all necessary action against militants involved in the killings.
The minister also directed union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to conduct a review at his level in the security establishment, the sources said.
Singh expressed “pain” over the killings and said the government was monitoring the situation.
A defence ministry release said that “a convoy of Assam Rifles while returning after assessing a landslide area in Holingjang to the Battalion Headquarters location at Joupi in Chandel District of South Manipur had the encounter with a suspected Valley based insurgent group”.
Officials in Imphal said the insurgents detonated remote-controlled bombs and opened fire from several sides.
The exchange of fire lasted about an hour.
“The troops retaliated the insurgent fire effectively. However, the insurgents managed to get away under thick forest cover and bad weather,” said the release.
As news of the incident was received, reinforcements were rushed to the spot and operations launched to apprehend the perpetrators, who are believed to have escaped to no man’s land between Manipur and Myanmar.
The area of the encounter has been cordoned off and intensive combing operations have been launched to neutralise the insurgent group, the defence ministry said.
The dead soldiers are Subedar B.K. Sharma from Himachal Pradesh, NCO Havildar Surjeet Barla from Jharkhand, and four riflemen – Mahesh Gurung from Uttrakhand, A.K. Pandey from Bihar, Pawan Kumar from Jammu and Kashmir and Bhupinder Singh from Himachal Pradesh.
The mortal remains of the martyrs were being taken to their home towns by a team of Assam Rifles personnel.
Army’s Eastern Command chief, Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi expressed deep condolences to the families of the killed personnel.
“The nation owes gratitude to the ultimate sacrifice made by the Assam Rifles personnel like them in the fight against insurgents. We in the army are committed to provide all necessary support to their families in this hour of grief.
“Such acts of violence by insurgents reinforces our resolve to carry out relentless operations against such anti-national elements for furtherance of peace in the region,” he said.
On June 4, 2015, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang and other underground groups ambushed an army convoy in Chandel district, killing 18 personnel of the Dogra Regiment and injuring 14 others.