At least three persons were killed in separate firing incidents in Manipur on Tuesday, police officials told Scroll.

Two of them were killed in the buffer zone between Imphal East and Kangpokpi districts, while one was killed while trying to loot weapons from a police training college in Imphal East.

Buffer zones are areas between the Meitei-dominated valley districts and the hill districts, where Kukis live. Security forces sent by the Centre have been stationed in the buffer zones to ensure that armed militants from either community do not enter the other’s territory.

On Tuesday evening, a large number of “village volunteers” allegedly attempted to barge into the Manipur Police Training College at Pangei in Imphal East district, reported PTI.

One person, identified as 24-year-old Okram Sanaton, was killed as security personnel opened fire to control the crowd.

The training college stores a large number of weapons. According to the news agency, the volunteers had earlier posted on social media that they needed more weapons to fight off attackers amid the gunfight in the Khamenlok ridge.

In a separate incident, armed miscreants looted weapons from 5th Indian Reserve Battalion at Thengu Chingjin in Imphal East. Six persons have been detained in connection with the incident.

According to the Manipur Police, firing between armed groups was reported in the Khamenlok ridge in Imphal East district along Saibol heights, Gwaltabi and Semol at around 11.30 am on Tuesday.

“On receipt of information, security forces moved in a coordinated manner to control the situation,” the police stated.

A police official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times that a man named Sagolsem Loha was killed in the firing and his body was sent to the mortuary in the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Science in Imphal.

Residents of Saikul and the Kuki Student Organisation told the newspaper that a second person named Demkhogin Khongsai was also killed in a gunfight.

“Khongsai was a village volunteer,” said Lenin Haokip, the chief of L Chajang village. “His house in Kangpokpi was burnt and he had joined the village volunteers last year.”

The term “village volunteers” has been used for armed civilians guarding villages since the conflict broke out between the Kuki and Meitei communities in May.

At least three persons, including a junior commissioned officer of the Indian Army, were also injured in the violence.

The ethnic clashes in Manipur, which began on May 3, erupted after a march in Churachandpur, where thousands of tribal residents came out on the streets to protest against the demand to grant the Meitei community Scheduled Tribe status.

Over 200 people have been killed since then and nearly 67,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes.