Five persons were killed in Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts of Manipur in the early hours of Saturday as the toll in northeastern state rose to 187. Three of those killed were Meiteis and two were from the Kuki-Zo community.

The Meiteis were killed inside their homes in an attack by a mob of Kuki-Zos, Bishnupur Deputy Commissioner Lourembam Bikram told Scroll. Meanwhile, Churachandpur police superintendent confirmed the deaths of the two Kukis.

It was not clear what sparked the violence, but it took place around 4 am in and around Kwakta area of the Meitei-dominated Bishnupur district and Pholjang village of Churachandpur, where the Kuki-Zos live.

“We don’t know how this started,” another police official from Churachandpur told Scroll. “Both sides have different stories. We will try to confirm. Both sides claimed that the other came and attacked first. But who entered first is still contentious.”

The three Meitei persons persons killed have been identified as Yumnam Jiten Meitei, Yumnam Pishak Meitei and his son Yumnam Premkumar Meitei. The Kuki victims have not been identified yet.

Three other persons, including a policeman were injured in the violence as well, an unidentified police official told PTI. “The policeman sustained splinter injuries on his face,” the official said. “All the three have been brought to Raj Medicity in Imphal for treatment. They are out of danger.”

After the violence, the district administration curtailed curfew relaxation hours in Imphal West and East districts to 5 am to 10.30 am. Earlier, curfew used to be lifted from 5 am to 6 pm.

Manipur has been witnessing ethnic clashes between the Kuki and the majority Meitei communities since May 3. Of the 187 people killed, 115 are Kukis and 65 are Meiteis. Nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

Also read: How a burial site in Manipur has become the latest flashpoint between Meiteis and Kuki-Zo groups