The Manipur Police on Tuesday said that they have arrested two people allegedly associated with the Kuki Revolutionary Army (Unification) insurgent group in connection with a case of two missing Meitei teenagers.

The two boys, identified as 16-year-old Maibam Avinash and 19-year-old Ningthoujam Anthony, went missing after they visited the Sekmai area in Imphal West district on Sunday morning to attend a function. Their phones were reportedly recovered wrapped in a black plastic bag near an oil pump in Senapati district, a Naga-dominated area.

Manipur has been reeling under ethnic clashes between Kuki and Meitei communities. Over 200 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in early May. Nearly 60,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes.

In a social media post on Tuesday, the police said that the two arrested persons in the case were “highly suspected to be involved in committing the crime”. Combing operations were underway to apprehend the other accused.

The Kuki Revolutionary Army (Unification), however, rejected the allegation of its members being involved in the case, reported the Deccan Herald. The group said that the charges were “intentional to malign the image of the organisation”.

The arrests come amid fresh tensions in the Meitei-dominated Imphal valley, with students staging protests to demand action against those involved in the disappearance of two boys.

Meira Paibis, a community of Meitei women, has launched road blockades on NH-37 connecting Imphal to Silchar via Jiribam, reported NorthEast India 24.

Kuki-Zos missing

The situation is also volatile in Manipur after four Kuki-Zo people, including two women, were allegedly abducted on Tuesday morning by a Meitei mob. The fifth member of the group, a 65-year-old man, was rescued by security forces and has been seriously injured.

The incident led to a heavy exchange of fire on the border of Kangpokpi district, where the Kuki-Zos are in the majority, and the Imphal valley.

At least nine people, including two police personnel and seven civilians, were injured in the firing. All nine were from the Meitei community, said Ksh Shivakanta Singh, superintendent of police, Imphal West.