Six suspected militants belonging to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah, or NSCN (IM), separatist group were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Arunachal Pradesh’s Longding district on Saturday.

A team comprising the Indian Army, the Assam Rifles and the Arunachal Pradesh Police launched a search operation in Nginu village after receiving information about the presence of militants in the area, Defence Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sumit K Sharma said in a statement.

Sharma added that militants began firing at the security personnel, forcing them to retaliate. “In the ensuing firefight, six cadres were neutralised while one soldier of Assam Rifles has been injured,” Sharma added. “The troops also recovered six rifles and ammunition, IEDs [Improvised explosive devices] and other warlike stores.” The injured soldier is now stable, he added.

The spokesperson said that security forces personnel were confirming the identity of the militants and probing their link to the NSCN (IM) faction operating in Myanmar.

The security forces also recovered 30 bags of rice from the site, which they suspect was diverted from the district’s public distribution system, according to PTI.

Arunachal Pradesh Director General of Police RP Upadhyaya said that the operation was still on.