IMPHAL, June 4: Heavily armed militants ambushed an army convoy in Chandel district this morning, killing atleast 17 personnel including an officer and injuring 16 others in one of the deadliest ambush since the attack on the Sikh Regiment by a hill-based militant outfit some years ago along the Imphal-Ukhrul road which killed 21 personnel.
Meanwhile, the NSCN/GPRN, KYKL and the KCP have claimed responsibility for the attack.
The convoy of the 6 Dogra Regiment was ambushed in between Charlong Village and Paraolon Village, 35 kms from the Tengnoupal Police Station along the New Somtal Road in Chandel district.
An unsigned joint statement of the three outfits said `A combined team of the Elite Strike Unit of Naga Army, KYKL and KCP assaulted five vehicle convoy of the 6thDogra regiment on June 4 at Tengnoupal `“New Somtal Road under Chandel district of Manipur and slain 20 personnel including one JCO and critically injured more than a dozen soldiers.`
`The assault started around 6 am and lasted till 9 to 10 AM.`
`The joint offensive has been launched in sync with each corresponding assertion for self determination and sovereignty.` the statement said.
According to the police, the 6 Dogra Regiment of the Moltuk post was being replaced by the 4 Assam Regiment and they were moving towards their Imphal divisional headquarter when the attack happened.
The personnel were in four vehicles and came under the sudden powerful ambush from the militants just 5 km far from their Moltuk post, police said.
The militants first triggered a powerful Improvised Explosive Device to damage the first vehicle of the convoy and block the way of the other vehicles and then fired RPG shells damaging two other vehicles, according to the police.
The attackers also used sophisticated weapons killing 17 army personnel including a Junior Commission Officer on the spot. Another 16 personnel were injured during the ambush.
Police also said some of the 6 Dogra Regiment personnel retaliated for sometime killing a suspected militant.
The bodies of the killed and the injured personnel were shifted to the Leimakhong Military Hospital in three helicopters.
It is also said that the militants took away weapons from the army, although the exact number of weapons and ammunitions is yet to be officially confirmed.
Soon after recieving information of the ambush, a Chandel district Police team rushed to the spot. Assam Rifles personnel from the nearby post also arrived at the scene.