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The Manipur Police have arrested three members of the banned KCP (N) from Imphal West district and recovered arms and ammunition from their possession, an official statement said on Friday.

Five mobile handsets and Rs 4 lakh in cash were also seized from their possession, it said. The arms and ammunition recovered from them are suspected to have been looted from security forces earlier, a police officer said. The arrested members of the proscribed Kangleipak Communist Party (Nongdrenkhomba) were identified as L Alin, Herish Maibam and Bela Oinam, the statement issued from the police control room said, adding that a case was registered for further investigation.

Manipur has remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence since ethnic clashes between two communities first erupted in May last year. Altogether 219 people have been killed since then.

The clashes have occurred over a number of grievances that both sides have against the other, however, the flashpoint of the crisis has been a move to give Meiteis Scheduled Tribe status, which has since been rolled back and an attempt to turf out tribals living in protected forest areas.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.