Indian PLA insurgents kill soldier

Feb. 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM
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IMPHAL, India, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Indian PLA insurgents killed a soldier and wounded through others in Manipur by detonating a powerful remote-controlled bomb.

The blast was the first major attack on Indian army personnel this year in Manipur in India's northeast.

The Peoples Liberation Army attack occurred in Manipur's Churachandpur district, when the bomb, attached to a roadside culvert, went off at about 6:40 a.m. when Indian army personnel were patrolling the area.

An India armed forces dog, trained to detect concealed explosives, also died in the bomb blast.

The PLA subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack.

The IAF said the condition of the injured personnel was listed as serious, The Press Trust of India reported.

While the IAF searched for those responsible for the attack, no arrests have been made. IAF briefing reports indicated that the attackers used the jungle and hilly terrain to their advantage in escaping.

The IAF reported a second incident, when a powerful bomb planted near the office of the Border Road Task Force at Lamphel area in Imphal West district was successfully defused.

The Indian military has been battling the PLA since it was founded in 1978 by N. Bisheshwar Singh, whose revolutionary agenda is a separate independent socialist state of Manipur. Complicating the group's activities, it was the revolutionary combat organization from Manipur to have been trained by China's People Liberation Army on Chinese territory during the 1980s, along with training in Myanmar.

While the PLA since its inception has been waging a low-level guerrilla war against the Indian military establishment, targeting the IAF, governmental paramilitary forces and Manipur's state police, in the late 1990s in a policy shift, the PLA declared a unilateral decision not to target the Manipur Police.

Over the past several decades, Indian security forces have scored notable successes against the PLA, including killing top leaders President Thoudam Kunjabehari in 1982 and arresting Bisheshwar in 1981.

Those actions decreased the group's ability to mount military operations.

The organization splintered in 1989 when a PLA political wing, the Revolutionary People's Front was formed. The RPF, led by Irengbam Chaoren, stylized itself as a "government in exile" in Bangladesh.

Indian analysts estimated that the PLA can now field about 3,800 insurgents.

The PLA is also a member of the Manipur Peoples Liberation Front, an umbrella organization of three separatist Manipur organizations, including the United National Liberation Front and The People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak.

The UNLF, a Communist insurgent group, was founded in 1964 in Manipur and also seeks to establish an independent socialist Manipur.

PREPAK is yet another armed insurgent group in Manipur demanding a separate and independent homeland, formed under the leadership of R. K. Tulachandra in 1977.

The trio of armed Communist separatist guerilla groups has been attacking security forces in various parts of the state, including Imphal city, since September 2012 but most analysts rate their chances of success as remote.

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