At least five Meiteis were shot dead in the last 24 hours in two separate incidents in conflict-hit Manipur, police officials told Scroll.

A volunteer safeguarding his village was killed during a gunfight at the Kangchup village along the boundary between the Imphal West and Kangpokpi districts on Wednesday night. Several gunfights were reported on Wednesday night along the foothills between the Imphal Valley and hill areas after the killing of two police commandos in the Moreh town in the Tengnoupal district.

The other four Meiteis were killed on Thursday afternoon in the Bishnupur district. They were identified as Oinam Ahongjao Singh, his son Oinam Manitomba Singh, Thiyam Somen Singh and Ningthoujam Neta.

Their bodies were recovered from near the Kha Khunou water reservoir, which is located about a kilometre away from the Ningthoukhong Khunou village.

“All the four people have bullet wounds and they were shot dead by suspected Kuki militants,” a senior police official from Bishnupur told Scroll.

The police official said that all four persons hailed from the Ningthoukhong Khunou area. “Two of them were caretakers at the Kha Khunou water reservoir, while the others had most likely gone to their paddy fields when they were killed,” the official said.

The Ningthoukhong Khunou village lies between Imphal and Moirang, a town located in the foothills in Bishnupur. The village is near the Kuki-Zo-dominated Churachandpur district.

On January 10, four Meiteis from Bishnupur who had gone to fetch firewood were killed at the Haotak Phailen village in the Churachandpur district.

Manipur has been gripped by ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities since early May. Over 200 people have been killed since the conflict broke out and nearly 67,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes.