Arson suspected behind fire at Mokokchung’s Kinunger Village; two houses, granary charred, church suffers minor damages

Mokokchung: Short circuit unlikely as electricity cut off for years in vacant houses, says Chairman of Kinunger Village Council

BY | Sunday, 5 May, 2024

In a devastating series of events at Kinunger village in Mokokchung district, two houses, three scooters and a granary with a year’s worth of rice were reduced to ashes on 3rd May 2024. In a separate fire incident, the village church also suffered some minor damages on the same day. Arson is suspected to be behind all these incidences and investigation is underway.

The Chairman of Kinunger Village, Imlikunba informed that the incident occurred at around 1:30 am on 3rd May 2024 at Yimpang area, swiftly engulfing nearby structures despite villagers’ valiant efforts. He informed that the Firefighters from Fire Station Mokokchung South located at Marepkong racing against time and windy conditions, managed to reach the village to contain the flames at around 3:00 am.

Download Nagaland Tribune app on Google Play

Kinunger Village is 20 km from Mokokchung town which takes approximately one and half hours to reach through the Mokokchung – Mariani Road which is in deteriorating condition.

The firefighters tried to salvage the adjoining properties but were unable to rescue the decimated homes of Imkongmayang and Lipoknungsang, along with Imtimongla’s rice granary.

Imlikunba informed that by the time the firefighters arrived, the flames had already engulfed the entire house despite the villagers’ efforts. He also said that the firefighters managed to control the flames from spreading to other adjoining houses. Meanwhile, villagers, from neighboring Aliba and Chungtia, rallied to assist, he said.

The chairman informed that a potential arson attempt was discovered at the village church around 9:40 am when the church’s peon stumbled upon the aftermath when he went to clean the church, finding one bench and half of the wooden floor burnt.

While villagers were clearing debris from the initial fire, another blaze inside the church was reported and promptly extinguished.

Three packaged drinking water bottles filled with petrol were found inside, one of which had ignited, causing minor damage.

Additionally, two more petrol-filled bottles were discovered in vacant houses during a subsequent search around the village.

In this connection, the chairman informed that an FIR has been lodged at Police Station II, Mokokchung and the police personnel have seized the evidence for investigation.

On 4th May 2024, the Mokokchung Police apprehended an individual on suspect of having links to the fire incidents in Mokokchung district. However, the PRO and Additional SP Mokokchung stated that further details were being withheld due to the ongoing investigation.

As part of the probe, a police team led by Additional SP Mokokchung visited Kinunger village on the same day to gather additional information and collect statements from village council leaders and eyewitnesses. The Kinunger Village Council assured full cooperation with the police in their investigation.

According to Imlikunba, Chairman of the Kinunger Village Council, the fire in the houses were unlikely caused by electrical short circuits since the vacant houses had their electricity connections cut off for years. He also estimated that the fires destroyed property valued at around Rs 15 lakh.

The granddaughter of Imkongmayang informed that the burnt house was their grandparents’ house, which had been vacant for over 10 years, ever since their grandparents passed away, with all electrical connections cut off since no relatives resided there. When asked about the estimated loss, they stated that approximately Rs 6 lakhs were burnt down, as nothing was saved.

The grandchildren of Lipoknungsang reported a loss of approximately Rs 5 to 6 lakhs.

Additionally, the granary owner, Imtimongla, lost rice grains stocked for the whole year, estimated to be around 200 tin cans.

The investigation is ongoing, with statements being gathered from village council leaders and eyewitnesses. The estimated loss of property is approximately Rs 15 lakhs, with families recounting the devastation of their late grandparents’ homes and the loss of valuable rice stocks.

You cannot copy content of this page