Vital bridge on National Highway in Manipur damaged by IED blasts

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Imphal, April 24 (IANS): A vital bridge on the National Highway-2 in Manipur's Kangpokpi district was badly damaged in a powerful improvised explosive devices (IED) blast on Wednesday, disrupting movement of traffic between Manipur and the rest of the country via Nagaland, police said.

According to police, movement on the Imphal-Dimapur National Highway (NH-2) was totally stopped and some 200 vehicles on either side of the bridge were left stranded while a few of them, including goods-laden trucks, moved through an alternative risky road.

A police official said that the battery of IED blasts made three big holes in the bridge.

Police are yet to ascertain which organisation or individual are behind the blasts, which occurred on the bridge between Sapermeina and Koubru Leikha areas.

No casualties were reported so far in the blasts, which occurred two days before the second phase of polling in the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency on April 26.

Security forces rushed to the spot and cordoned off the bridge.

A probe was launched and a search is going on to nab the perpetrators.

The IED blasts came a day after gunfights broke out between village volunteers of the two rival communities in the Imphal West district.

After the ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3 last year, the NH-2 was blocked by various Kuki organisations, affecting the movement of vehicles including essential goods trucks, while the movement of Meitei people had been stopped on it.

Movement of people and vehicles through the Imphal-Jiribam National Highway (NH-37), the second crucial highway, was also affected after the ethnic violence started.

Wednesday’s blasts were the second attempt to stop the movement of vehicles and people on the vital National Highway. On June 21, 2023, suspected Kuki militants detonated a powerful IED at a bridge at Kwakta in Bishnupur district in which three persons sustained injuries and also left several public and private properties damaged. The case was later taken up by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the main conspirator Seiminlun Gangte and his associate Mohammed Noor Hussain were arrested and a charge sheet was filed against them on April 12.