New Delhi (Mizzima) – An unidentified gunman on Saturday shot dead an Indian from Manipur at his rented house in Kalemyo town of North-western Burma, police said.
The Manipuri, who had reportedly rented a house near St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pinlong ward of Kalemyo Town, was shot dead on December 19, at about 6:45 p.m., according to the police.
"It is true that a Manipuri [Indian] was shot dead on Saturday," a police officer at the Kalemyo police station in Sagaing division told Mizzima.
But the officer declined to give further details of the killing.
"We heard that a gunman shot him through the open window and fled on a motorcycle. The bullet hit him on the chest and he died," a local resident of the ward said.
Neighbours of the Manipuri (Indian) man said, he had reportedly moved into his rented house about three months ago, but with little contact with him, they failed to give details about his occupation, name and his stay and its legal status.
A source living in the same ward told Mizzima that the Manipuri man was a member of an insurgent group fighting against Indian authorities but was based in Burma.
The source, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the Manipuri man was set up in Kalemyo by an armed outfit in Manipur as a liaison person to deal with Burmese military officers and as a representative to purchase arms and ammunitions.
The source claimed that the Manipuri man was able to rent a house and stay in Kalemyo because of his connection with the Burmese Army, which has provided several Indian insurgent groups a safe haven in Burma.
Another source involved in arms smuggling across the international boundary said, most of the North-eastern Indian insurgents rely on Burma for supply of arms and ammunition. Earlier, the insurgents would wait for smugglers, who used Burma as a route to bring arms and ammunition up to the Indo-Burma border and purchase it.
But since early 2002, the source said, Manipuri insurgents are seen frequenting Mandalay, Burma's second largest city that connects China's border town of Ruili, and smugglers no longer need to supply arms.
"There are a lot of Manipuri insurgents residing in Burma's border towns like Tamu and Kalemyo. They are liaison persons who deal with Burmese Army officials and the key person to strike deals for arms," the source added.
A former arms smuggler, speaking to Mizzima on condition of anonymity said, "Some insurgent officers even marry local Burmese women and establish business in smuggling of arms and ammunitions."
He said, with a Chinese made AK-47 costing only about 1.5 million Kyat (Approximately USD 1100) in Kalemyo, it is a lucrative business as it can be sold off at an estimated Rs. 200,000 to insurgents on the Indo-Burma border. Currently, an Indian rupee is worth 25 Kyat.
Earlier, in 2005 and 2006, Mizzima's sources said that Manipuri insurgents were able to live in nearby forests in Tamu Township. But sources added many Indian insurgents are now seen in places as far as Kalemyo.
While Tamu Township is in the immediate border of India's Moreh town of Manipur state, Kalemyo is about 100 miles east of Tamu town and has a military brigade based in the town. It is also well connected with the rest of Burma including Mandalay and Rangoon through roadways as well as by flights.