At least four persons, including two hardcore NSCN (IM) rebels died on the spot and a woman was seriously injured in a fierce encounter on Thursday between security forces and the outfit in troubled Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The encounter, which took place at Hollam village under Khonsa circle lasted for nearly an hour, Tirap SP Vikramjit Singh said.

“On specific information about the presence of the militants in the village, a team of Assam Rifles cordoned the area. Seeing the security personnel, the militants resorted to firing which forced the security personnel to retaliate,” the SP said.

The slain militants were identified as self-styled sergeant major of the outfit Wang Shung Mi and Corporal Sumong Tikhil and hail from Nagaland.

In the cross firing, two civilians died when they tried to run away from the encounter site, he said and added that they were identified as Panjam Wangsu and Ranthak Wangsu of the village while another civilian, a woman, who was injured was admitted to the Khonsa hospital.

A massive manhunt was launched in the area immediately in search of other probable militants.

Meanwhile, strong reaction evoked at Khonsa, the district headquarters over the death of the two civilians.

Public and students’ unions resorted to road blockade demanding immediate arrest of the persons involved.