Monday, July 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

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Bid on Manipur CM, 2 guards killed

Imphal, July 27
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today escaped an attempt on his life, even as two of his security guards were killed and four others seriously wounded at Wangjing, about 35 km from here, official sources said.

The heavily armed militants of the separatist People’s Liberation Army (PLA), led by Gojen Singh, opened fire at the Chief Minister and his security convoy around 10.55 a.m., soon after he left Wangjing area, said Brig E.J. Kochekan, Commander of 9 Sector Assam Rifles at Thoubal.

Mr Okram Singh had visited the place to inspect the construction of a dam at Sangaiyumpham in Thoubal district.

He was safely escorted by securitymen to his official residence here, the sources said.

Brigadier Kochekan said as per intelligence reports, some PLA militants had been roaming in the area prior to the attack. He described the attack as an incident of “provocative firing”.

Police commandos and personnel of the India Reserve Battalion (IRB), who were part of the Chief Minister’s convoy, chased the militants to nearby Salungpham village, where a fierce encounter took place around 11.25 a.m., the sources said.

In the exchange of fire, that lasted for more than an hour, a police commando and a jawan of 3 IRB battalion were killed and four police commandos were seriously injured as militants exploded powerful grenades. The injured commandos were admitted to a nearby hospital.

Heavy security reinforcements were rushed from Thoubal and Imphal and a massive combing operation was launched to track down the attackers, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister condemned the incident and said violence would not bring a solution to any problem.

A red alert was sounded in Manipur following the abortive bid on the life of the Chief Minister official sources said.

All police and security posts have been asked to intensify security measures to detect the movement of armed militants in the state.

Passers-by were being checked in the Wangjing area of Thoubal district where Mr Ibobi Singh and his security convoy were fired upon by militants. — PTI

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