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Armed militants kill police officer, ambush security convoy in India's Manipur

Relatives and police officers mourn as they carry the body of Chingtham Anand, a SDPO, outside a hospital in Imphal

By Zarir Hussain

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Armed militants shot dead a senior police officer and wounded two others in separate attacks in India's Manipur on Tuesday, officials said, the latest episodes of violence in the restive state where ethnic clashes have killed at least 180 people this year.

A police spokesperson said militants opened fire at a sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) while the officer was overseeing the construction of a helipad in Moreh, a trading town on the border with Myanmar.

Ethnic clashes erupted in the northeastern state on May 3 as members of the majority Meitei ethnic group and minority Kuki tribals fought over sharing government benefits and quotas in jobs and education.

Sporadic violence has continued since the peak of the clashes, despite tens of thousands of extra security personnel being deployed, marking a rare security failure for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government in a state ruled by his Bharatiya Janata Party.

The police spokesperson said militants that attacked the senior official belonged to the Kuki community. No arrests have been made so far. The Meitei make up 53% of Manipur's population, while the Kuki account for 16%.

"Deeply saddened by the cold-blooded killing of SDPO Chingtham Anand .... The perpetrators will be brought to justice," the state's chief minister, N. Biren Singh, said in a social media post.

In a separate incident, militants ambushed a security convoy near village Sinam in Tengnoupal district injuring two policemen.

"Both the injured were shifted to a local hospital with multiple bullet injuries," a senior police official told Reuters by telephone on condition of anonymity.

(Reporting by Zarir Hussain; Writing by Shivam Patel; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)