At least nine people have been killed in the latest clashes between members of rival ethnic groups in India’s northeastern state of Manipur, police said, as security forces pressed on with a hunt for illegal weapons.
Violence between members of the Kuki ethnic group, who mostly live in the hills, and Meiteis, the dominant community in the lowlands, erupted on May 3, sparked by resentment over economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education reserved for hill people.
Security forces rushed to Khamenlok village in Manipur state’s Kangpokpi district after clashes broke out Tuesday night between the Kuki and Meitei communities, said L Sushindro, a state government minister.
Police found nine bodies early on Wednesday, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to reporters. Three people have been reported missing, the officer said.
K Shivakanta Singh, a senior police official in the state capital of Imphal, told reporters that a gun battle between rival factions erupted on Tuesday and went on for hours.
“We have reports of at least nine deaths and 10 injured so far,” Singh said. “The situation remains volatile.”
Federal security force reinforcements have been sent to the state and they have been searching for illegal weapons.
According to Indian media reports, at least 100 people have been killed and more than 40,000 displaced since May 3 in the remote state on the Myanmar border.
Thousands of homes have been burned and shops and businesses vandalised.