IMPHAL, April 15 (IANS): Seven policemen were killed and six injured Friday in an ambush by militants in Manipur, an officer said.
A police spokesperson said a group of heavily armed militants hiding on a hilltop attacked a convoy belonging to W. Keishing, a local legislator, near village Riha in Ukhrul district, about 35 km east of Manipur capital Imphal.
"The militants opened indiscriminate fire from automatic weapons killing seven policemen on the spot and injuring six more," a senior police officer said, requesting anonymity.
Keishing escaped by jumping from the running vehicle and took cover behind a tree.
"Keishing was also injured in the process, not hit by bullets but got hurt while jumping from the vehicle," the officer said.
The injured policemen, two of them critical, were shifted to a local hospital.
"The attack took place when the MLA (legislator) was returning with his escort vehicle after attending a function near Riha," the official said.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but police suspect the hand of the outlawed Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) in the ambush.
"The NSCN-IM is active in the area and hence we suspect it to be their handiwork," the officer said.
Manipur is home to about 20-odd rebel groups with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Manipur, bodering Myanmar, during the past two decades.