CONTINUING COVERAGE - Imphal Siege Continues
As the local government of Imphal attempts to negotiate an end to the four-month old siege of this eastern Indian city, skirmishes intensify along the narrow supply routes into the besieged city. The Indian Air Force, meanwhile, is attempting to keep the city supplied with fuel by airlifting tanker trucks in, to keep essential services running to the capital of Manipur State.
In related news, in the city of Kohima, the capital Nagaland to the north, an uneasy calm has returned to the city following three days of violence that left at least two dead. The violence stems from a requirement intended to be enforced during the current election cycle, that guaranteed 33% of municipal election seats to women, regardless of popular vote results. Local tribes claim that this is a violation of their traditional rights; although women traditionally have no political rights among the Naga, the tribe's issue was not women being allowed to run, but that 33% of the seats were guaranteed to women.
In light of our previous reporting, this attempted electoral move only serves to heighten tensions in an already explosive environment.
Elsewhere in India...
Four junior officer trainees of the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) were killed, and twenty wounded, when Naxalite guerrillas detonated a large IED in the Indian state's mountainous Koraput district under their bus, while en route to a police training college. The bus, carrying some seventy trainees, was blown off the road, and rolled almost one hundred feet down a slope. Further deaths are expected, as many of the trainees were severely injured in the attack.
In Bihar's Gaya district, Naxalites attacked a road construction camp along the famous Grand Trunk Road, burning two construction vehicles. However, there is evidence that this arson attack has more to do with extortion than anything political...After all, even Marxists need the fruits of capitalism.
Meanwhile, near Mumbai - scene of the brutal massacre in 2008 by the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group - police questioned some twenty suspects this week, after posters promoting the ISIL terror group appeared in the megacity's suburbs.
To the north, in Gujarat, officials called for calm, as religious tensions skyrocketed, resulting in demonstrations by the Bajrang Dal activist group being broken up by police tear gas shells, with twenty activists arrested after burning some two dozen butcher shops, following the discovery of a slaughtered calf's head on a road in the Surat region. Although cattle are considered sacred in Hinduism, butchers are allowed to slaughter the animals in this multi-sectarian region, as long as certain methods are followed.
Afghan security forces reported killing as many as fifty Taliban terrorists throughout Helmand Province, while to the north, in Kunduz, senior Taliban leader Abdul Wakil. In Faryab province, eight police officers - all from the same family - were drugged, then murdered in their remote station by a Taliban who had infiltrated police ranks. The unidentified suspected reportedly fled back to the Taliban.
Syrian armed forces hammered ISIL positions in Suwayda, destroying a command and control center in in airstrike, and pounding ISIL positions in the area, destroying an arms depot and a large fuel tanker. Also this week, on the 5th, ISIL infiltrators cut a natural gas line feeding a 300 megawatt power station in the capital of Damascus. On the 2nd and 3rd, the Russian embassy in Damascus came under direct mortar attack; both Russia and Damascus condemned this direct strike on a diplomatic mission.
To the east, ISIL forces destroyed the last oil and gas refinery facilities in the city of Palmyra - whose ancient sites have been repeatedly savaged by the terrorist cult - as they prepare to retreat from the remains of the city, as Syrian forces continue their advance to recapture this important historical site.
In the north, Syrian forces continue to hammer away at ISIL forces, as the mopping up operations outside of Aleppo. Syrian Army forces retook the hamlet of Aran, south of Al Bab, cutting ISIL supply lines to the town. This comes as Turkey's "Euphrates Shield" operations conducted airstrikes in support of the operation.
Living up to the "terrorist" moniker, al Shabaab terrorists secretly poisoned a water well in the town of Masuubiy, near the city of Baidoa. At least 32 people - mostly women and children - have been killed by the poisoned water, while another twenty remain hospitalized.
Further west, Al Shabaab terrorists attacked a Kenyan Administrative Police post in the border town of Mandera on February 2nd. One police trainee was wounded, and the attackers made off with a police vehicle, a motorcycle, a rifle and other equipment. No fatalities were reported.
The Donbass fighting intensified this week, as heavy rocket and conventional artillery duels continued, in support of infantry attacks by both sides throughout the region. Reported gains are negligible, as the forces involved are more or less evenly matched.
The "robo-call" bomb wave has returned with a vengeance, as schools throughout the country were locked down, and SWAT and bomb disposal teams swept the facilities for explosive devices, following automated calls warning of emplaced devices. In every case, no devices were found.
In Arizona, meanwhile, two people were hospitalized and later cleared for release after a suspicious powder was released when its containing envelope was opened in the offices of the "Alliance Defending Freedom", a Conservative non-profit law firm. "White powder attacks" have been increasing in frequency, as they are a cheap and easy method of attack that causes no casualties, but incites considerable psychological fear.
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