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EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE BETWEEN MILITANTS AND GOVERNMENT FORCES IN MANIPUR AND MISSILE FROM A HOUTHI-CONTROLLED AREA OF YEMEN HITS US-OWNED CONTAINER VESSEL

January 11-17, 2024 | Issue 2 - CENTCOM and PACOM Teams

Meaghan Mackey, Barbara Batycka, Hae Lim Park, Tejas Vaidya, Pike Wipperfurth

Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Senior Editor


Manipur in India[1]


Date: January 12, 2024

Location: Haotak Tampha Khunou Thoubal Leikai Village, Manipur, India

Parties involved: India; India’s Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF); Bishnupur district police; India’s Border Security Forces (BSF); Indian Army’s Mahar Regiment; predominately Christian ethnic minority group in Manipur, the Kuki tribe; predominately Hindu ethnic majority group in Manipur, the Meitei tribe; Kuki militants; Meitei militants; Manipur civilians

The event: Suspected Kuki militants and government forces, including the Army, BSF, and district police, exchanged gunfire in the early morning of Friday in Haotak Tampha Khunou Thoubal Leikai village.[2] The fighting lasted around five hours, but no casualties were reported. Violence between the Kuki and the Meitei tribes has been ongoing since May 2023, leading to the involvement of CAPF and local police forces in the conflict.[3]

Analysis & Implications:  

  • Increased tribal militant attacks directed at law enforcement entities in the region will likely add to Manipur civilians’ diminishing faith in regional law enforcement and CAPF to quell the ongoing violence. Targeting government forces will very likely increase ethnic and religiously motivated violence, with the militants attacking prominent local monuments, businesses, and religious sanctuaries. Increased ethnic and religious violence will very likely deteriorate the situation in the region further, likely increasing the need for more advanced central government intervention such as additional security forces deployed to the region.

  • The persisting violence and financial distress in the region will very likely trigger social and humanitarian crises. The worsening economic situation, loss of jobs, and decrease in work hours will almost certainly negatively affect breadwinners in households, very likely leading to increased retaliatory domestic violence toward women and children. Given police involvement in the conflict, domestic violence reports are unlikely to be addressed, very likely leading to a worsening mental health crisis and an increase in femicides.

  • Continued violence between the regional ethnic groups and government forces will almost certainly affect the economy and tourism of Manipur. Local businesses are likely to experience heightened targeted attacks, likely forcing them to close business production and increasing economic hardship throughout the community. Lack of security in the region will almost certainly decrease its popularity among tourists, very likely resulting in reduced tourism revenue and business profits.


Date: January 15, 2024

Location: Gulf of Aden

Parties involved: US; US Federal Reserve; UK; Yemen; Iran; Gulf of Aden; Iranian-backed Houthi rebels; US and UK maritime security organizations; private shipping companies

The event: On Monday, a missile launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen hit a US-owned container vessel. The ship reported no casualties or damage and has continued on course.[4] The US forces detected the attack, with only 1 out of 3 missiles reaching the ship. The launch follows the Houthis vowing retaliatory action after the US and UK struck Houthi targets in Yemen last week.[5] 

Analysis & Implications:

  • Iranian-backed Houthi militants will very likely increasingly target commercial vessels with anti-ship ballistic missiles rather than military or other heavily secured vessels. Houthi anti-ship missiles targeting foreign military vessels will likely be ineffective or shot down, very likely drawing a response from the US, which will almost certainly carry out airstrikes targeting Houthi positions, resources, and infrastructure in Yemen. Despite warnings from US and UK maritime security organizations to avoid the region, the Houthis will likely target commercial vessels operating in the Gulf of Aden, likely considering them as easier targets with fewer consequences than military vessels. The Houthi militants will likely increasingly focus on commercial targets with limited anti-missile capabilities to increase the chances of their ordinance landing, reduce the likelihood of foreign military response, and maximize the ordinance’s impact on threatening and disrupting commercial shipping lanes and international trade.

  • Continued targeted attacks on commercial vessels will likely increase the security spending of shipping companies, very likely impacting the US and the global economy. Private shipping companies will likely raise shipping costs to combat the region’s volatility, likely skyrocketing the oil prices. Any increase in shipping prices will very likely push the US Federal Reserve to maintain high interest rates which will likely further slow the economy. A US economic slowdown will very likely affect global economies that export goods to the US.

  • The US military will likely conduct retaliatory strikes and joint exercises against the Iranian-backed Houthi group following this attack, likely intensifying regional tensions. The US will likely express strong opposition to the Houthis operations surrounding Yemen, likely issuing warnings to the Houthis to stop targeting maritime vessels in the Red Sea. The US and UK forces will likely carry out joint exercises around Yemen, likely conducting airstrikes at Houthi militant locations.


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[2] “Manipur: Militants and central forces exchange gunfire in Haotak village,” Northeast News, January 2024,

[3] “Manipur violence: What is happening and why,” BBC, July 2023,

[5] U.S.-owned container vessel struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile off the coast of Yemen, CNBC, January 2024, https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2024/01/15/red-sea-vessel-off-the-coast-of-yemen-struck-by-missile-uk-says.html 



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