Influential Manipur tribal leader abducted, gunned down

The bullet-riddled body of an influential tribal leader, who was abducted in broad daylight from near the district headquarters in Manipur’s Tamenglong, was found on Thursday, leading to tension in the area, police said.

Athuan Abonmai, the former president of Zeliangrong Baudi, a tribal-based local council in Tamenglong district and a leader of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), had been abducted at gunpoint on Wednesday.

His abduction came as Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, accompanied by his ministerial colleagues, visited Tamenglong district, bordering Assam and Nagaland, to inaugurate some projects as a part of the state’s ‘Go to Hills’ campaign.

A police official said that Abonmai was reportedly abducted while he was on his way to attend the Chief Minister’s programme.

Local media reports said that 20 armed cadres of a hill-based extremist outfit kidnapped Abonmai near Pallong village.

Police yet to ascertain the motive behind the incident with no militant group was claiming responsibility for the abduction and killing of the tribal leader.

Eight personnel including four Manipur Rifles jawans have been suspended and a probe has been ordered. Senior police officials have rushed to the district.

Many organisations condemned the incident and demanded a clarification from the perpetrators on the motive behind the assassination.