Moreh/Sekmai, April 21: Two blasts rocked two different ends of the National Highway no 2 today.
In the first blast, a personnel of the 8th Manipur Rifles who was on escort duty of a PWD official team led by a Superintendent Engineer was killed in a suspected ambush by militants this morning at a place just 400 meter far from the Khudengthabi Assam Rifles check post along the Imphal Moreh stretch of the National Highway 2.
The ambush occurred around 7:30 am this morning.
Ten others were injured in the ambush including the SE and an Assistant Engineer and six other escort personnel.
According to a source, the militant suspects exploded three powerful bombs and fired rounds of gunfire at the team during the ambush.
The dead MR personnel is identified as Rifleman Sachin of Pangaltabi of Thoubal district.
The other injured are SE Ng Manglemjao, 57 son of (L) Khomdon of Kangla Sangomshang; AE Maibam Birla, 56, son of (L) Brajabidhu of Kwakeithel; Driver Laishram Mocha, 49, son of L Udoy of Mongshangei and Driver Ch Thoiba alias Thoi son of (L) Ch Nabakesho of Khurai Cheithabi Leikai.
Those injured amongst the escort team are Havildar RK Bikramjit; Havildar Dayanda; Riffleman Th Manoj;Riffleman Premkumar; Riffleman Manglem and Riffleman Sunil.
A team of the PWD Chandel division led by the SE and the AE was going for an inspection at Kwatha when the ambush happened.
The team consisted of two escort vehicles and one Bolero jeep.
Three bomb craters were found at three sides of the attack site: on the right side of the road towards the gorge, left side near the road-side drain and on the hill-slope adjacent to the road.
The militant suspects also fired from both sides of the road at which the escort team also fired back.
The gunbattle ensued for about 15-20 minutes said one of the drivers.
He also lamented that the reinforcement team failed to arrive in time.
Meanwhile, soon after receiving news of the ambush, CO 9AR, SDPO-Moreh, CDO-Moreh and personnel of the Moreh P/S conducted a search operation in the area.
During the search operation, empty cases of bullets were found from near the place.
An empty bottle of packaged drinking water and Amul cool drink were found in a black polythene bag believed to be used by the militant suspects were found from near the place.
The injured were first provided first aid at the Moreh District hospital and later shifted to Imphal.
On receiving the news, the Moreh ADC Robert also came to the Moreh hospital and met with the injured persons.
Meanwhile, in an unfortunate turn of events, the ambulance of the Moreh hospital could not be used to shift the injured persons due to a faulty brake.
Another powerful blast suspected to be triggered by a remote controlled Improvised explosive device took place along National Highway number 2 on the Imphal -Dimapur road.
The blast reportedly occurred at a garbage site located in front of the Sekmai Excise office under Sekmai police station today at around 10.50 am leading to three personnel of the 69 Battalion of Central Reserve police force who were engaged as escort party of petrol tankers and other eight civilians sustaining minor injuries.
The eight civilians were discharged after treatment at the Sekmai community health centre while the three CRPF personnel were rushed to the Regional Institute of Medical Science (RIMS).
According to the police, the blast took place under a stationery state electricity department Tata truck bearing registration number MNG- 1011. The truck was totally damaged due to the blast while three other vehicles including a Mini truck of the CRPF bearing registration number MH-14V-7790 and another Tata truck with registration number MN01-8431 parked nearby were damaged in the blast.
The blast took place when a petrol tanker heading towards Imphal from Dimapur along with an escort party of the 69 Battalion CRPF on the Mini Tata truck under reached the said blast site. Two escort personal of the CRPF along with the convoy driver and eight civilian in a nearby shop and hotel were also injured in the blast.
The injured CRPF personnel are identified as Shiva Lal, Light machine gun holder of the convoy truck; Head constable Tiken Singh of Mongsangei and driver Mahesh Gujar. The three were rushed to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and discharged after their treatment.
The other civilians injured in the blast include Ram Ashis Thakur (30), son of Dunilal Thakur of Samasthipur Bihar; Sanjoy Thakur (28), son of Karanuchand Thakur of Baisali district, Bihar and Upendra Thakur (40) of Begusarai Bihar all of whom are barbers and at present staying at Sekmai Bazaar; H Ranjit (43), a hotel owner and his 11 year old son H Roshan , M Priyo (21) of Sekmai Bazaar, a customer of the hotel and two women passerby near the spot identified as Manisana (15) and Naobi both from Tendoyang Sekmai.
All of them were discharged after giving their treatment at the Community health centre, Sekmai.
A Police personnel team led by SDPO Lamphel, OC Sekmai police station and a team of Imphal West CDO rushed to the spot where the blast took place and conducted search in the surrounding area using sniffer dogs. Later, a state bomb expert also arrived at the site and searched the area.
The Commandant officer of the 69 Battalion Central Reserve Police force also visited at the blast site along with other officials.
Speaking to the media, the hotel owner who was injured in the blast said that he and his 11 year old son was on to the roadside when suddenly he heard a loud sound and he lost consciousness. He added he did not realize what had happened and found that when he came to, he was at the CHC Sekmai.
Following the incident, local womenfolk of the area condemned the blast in the crowded and busy road stretch of the National Highway by unidentified person.