Three Assam Rifles soldiers, have just been martyred, in a district of Manipur bordering Myanmar. The soldiers, who were part of a squad of 15, were sent out on an ‘area domination’ mission, in the Chandel district, on Wednesday. They were ambushed by suspected PLA militia members, an insurgent group in the north-east. According to sources five others were injured, and are in critical condition.
In June 2015, 18 soldiers laid down their lives in Chandel, when militants ambushed their convoy, in what was described as the worst casualties the army had suffered in recent years till then. A mixed group of militants, comprising of the NSCN(K) and the United National Liberation Front of Manipur, claimed responsibility for the 2015 attack.
The Assam Rifles soldiers were first hit with an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion, and were then ambushed using small arms less than 100 kms away from the state capital of Imphal. Reinforcements have been rushed to the area near the Myanmar border.
In retaliation, Army special forces, along with Mi-17 helicopters of the IAF struck two militant camps, inflicting casualties. . The two camps are estimated to have had a total of about 150 militants.
The PLA was founded in the late 1970s and is fighting for secession from India. They are not part of any ceasefire with the government, unlike the NSCN (IM) from Nagaland. As part of the ceasefire agreement, the NSCN have agreed to report the location of all its camps to the Indian Army.
They have also signed a framework agreement with the government in August 2015, which PM Modi labelled a ‘historic step’ towards peace in the north-east.