AR troops claim control over militant-dominated zones

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Imphal, Nov 25 (UNI) Assam Rifles (AR) today said they had successfully reclaimed the areas in Manipur under the control of militants.

PRO of AR Col Pant said AR troops had gained control over a 1,000 square km area at Samtal in Chandel district, which was called ''Liberated Zone'' by the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) for over a decade.

The area was used as transit point by militants since 1993-94 and the ultras also established a new village, named New Samtal, which was used as training ground and camp by the Kuki Defence Force and Kuki National Army (KNA) in mid-1990, the PRO said.

Owing to inhospitable terrain, the area had been inaccessible.

The AR launched operations in 2003 and managed to push out the militants gradually.

A major operation also began in December 2006 at Chandel district and recently Maukot, Sehao, Bailon, Semol and Khengjoi villages were cleared of the presence of militants, the PRO added.

Company Operating Bases were established in Khangbarol, Sehao and Khongjoi.

During the operations in the area, about eight militants were killed and 125 IEDs were recovered and destroyed.

Earlier this year, about 40 per cent of the so-called ''Liberated Zones'' were secured by the Armed Forces.

The PRO said another operation began in April 2007 at T Nampao village and five militants were killed and huge consignment of arms and ammunition recovered and 12 IEDs detonated.

In July 2007, another operation was launched at Khumkot and three militants were killed.

The HQ three Corps and HQ IGAR (South) started another operation this month at Khenjoi and Sehlon ridge line, Chandel district and the area upto L Dongjoi Moljol and Phaisangjang villages was secured.

About 57 IEDs were recovered and destroyed while two soldiers sustained minor injuries in the operation.

Meanwhile, helicopters were being employed for sustenance of the troops in the region.

Despite fog, rain, poor visibility and incessant firing by the militants, the security forces were pressing ahead, clearing the areas held by the ultras, it was stated.

Consequently, the militants had started fleeing to Myanmar, the PRO said.


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