Imphal: Three Assam Rifles personnel were killed and and six others injured in an ambush by suspected insurgents of the banned People's Liberation Army in Manipur's Chandel district, Indian Army sources said on Thursday.
Suspected militants waited behind rocks and trees before triggering a blast that startled an Assam Rifles patrol in Khongtal near the India-Myanmar border around 6.30 pm on Wednesday.
Even before the personnel could gather their wits following the explosion, possibly triggered by an improvised explosive device (IED), they came under a fusillade of gunfire from automatic weapons.
Army sources said the personnel retaliated, forcing the attackers to flee.
The deceased have been identified as Pranay Kalita, Ratan Salam and Methna Konyak, all from the fourth battalion of the country's oldest paramilitary force.
Their bodies have been sent to Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) Hospital, Imphal, for post mortem. The injured have been shifted to a military hospital in Manipur's Kangpokpi district.
Condemning the attack, Chief Minister N Biren Singh called it "an act of cowardice".
"I strongly condemn the cowardice attack on 4 Assam Rifles in Chandel district. My tributes to the security personnel martyred in the attack.
"It is an act of cowardice and brutality. My heart goes out to the martyred and their families," he wrote on Facebook.
No underground insurgent outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack but security forces suspect it is the handiwork of the proscribed People's Liberation Army.