Iboyaima Laithangbam

IMPHAL: At least 16 government office buildings in the hill districts have been set on fire since Thursday night, by some tribal youths in protest against the refusal by the Manipur government to allow the NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to visit Manipur, official reports said on Saturday.

Ten offices in Chandel district, four in Tamgnelong and one each in Ukhrul and Senapati districts were set ablaze by the protesters. All official documents, files, and furniture were destroyed in the fire.

Official sources said the paramilitary forces would not be withdrawn from Mao, where the situation was still tense but fully under control.

The bodies of two tribal students were still in the community hall as the people refused to claim them.

Meanwhile, a group of tribal women blocked National Highway 39 by placing boulders, trees and debris, demanding withdrawal of the police and security forces from Mao. The highway was also dug up at several places and culverts on it destroyed.