Around 33 tribal militants killed in clashes in India's Manipur, minister says
PHOTO CAPTION: Illustrative photo of Indian soldiers via Reuters
By Zarir Hussain
GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Around 33 tribal militants have been killed recently in India's far northeastern state of Manipur in an ongoing security force operation following ethnic clashes in the region, the state's chief minister said on Sunday.
The state bordering Myanmar has witnessed growing tension in recent weeks, with rioting and ethnic clashes killing at least 60 people and displacing 35,000.
The violence began on May 3 when tribal groups clashed with ethnic majority Meitei people - a non-tribal group, over economic benefits and quotas given to the tribes.
On Sunday, Chief Minister N Biren Singh told reporters around 33 militants had so far been killed.
"Mass combing operations along with helicopter operations have started. We are trying to find out culprits, those militants, who are attacking the civilians," he said.
Earlier in May, New Delhi rushed thousands of paramilitary and army troops to the state of 3.2 million people.
Manipur shares a nearly 400-km (250-mile) border with Myanmar, where a 2021 coup led to thousands of refugees crossing into the Indian state.
(Reporting by Zarir Hussain and Aditya Kalra; Editing by Hugh Lawson)