FROM horror beheadings to the gang-rape of teen girls, a city in India has become a blood-soaked war zone plagued by ethnic violence.
Hundreds of people have been brutally killed after clashes erupted in Manipur in May.
Once-peaceful areas are now unrecognisable as savagery between the Meitei community and Kuki tribes spirals out of control, leaving the state on the edge of civil war.
Horrifying claims of beheadings, gang-rapes of women and children, and people being burnt alive are now emerging from Manipur at an alarming rate as the government restores access to internet services.
Ruth – a Kuki woman whose name has been changed for her own protection – said she barely escaped with her life after she and her family were targeted by an armed mob.
Her life changed forever on May 3 when her home was ambushed.
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The mum-of-two, a government employee, had just finished work when her husband called her and urged her to come home.
She was making dinner for her husband and daughters, aged seven and five, when they heard the sounds of tear gas and explosions nearby.
The 42-year-old told The Sun: "They started shouting and there were huge sounds coming from the main road.
“I could hear the sound of the tear gas, the sound of bombing the buildings, explosions of cylinders. I could hear everything."
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Militant Meitei groups could be heard yelling that they were going to “kill” Kuki people and set them alight, Ruth said.
Ruth switched off all the lights in her home and hid with her husband and two terrified girls until the early hours of the morning when the “scary” sounds started to quieten.
Their church, located just 200 metres from their home, was set alight.
Ruth’s family listened as it burned through the night then fled in the morning with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Their house was raided and their passports, bank cards, clothes, sofa set, freezer, and TV were stolen.
Clashes between Meitei and Kuki people are believed to have broken out over a land dispute.
Violence erupted and houses were burned as Kukis protested Meitei demands which would allow the majority group to buy land in Manipur's hill areas, currently occupied by Kukis.
The atrocities still being faced by the people of Manipur are difficult to digest.
In July, Ruth said a member of her community named David Thiek, 31, met a horrific end when his village, Langza, was attacked by "the militants".
Choking on her words, she said: "He was inside his house and the Meitei militant groups… reached there. They beheaded him.
“First, they cut off one of his hands, his limb. And then they were shouting ‘where is your hand? Just go and search.'
"And then they cut off the other arm, and then they cut off his legs… and then they beheaded him."
A harrowing photo showed a man carrying Thiek’s severed head with one hand and a machete with the other, while footage showed his bloody, battered head stuck on a fence.
Turmoil continues to roil the state now unofficially segregated in areas controlled by the two communities.
Even with the help of nearly 10,000 soldiers from the army and Assam Rifles, local police have found it impossible to maintain peace.
Just this week, distressing photos of two students – a girl, 17, and man, 20 – who went missing in July surfaced.
One picture shows the girl sitting down with the other student beside her clutching a backpack in what appears to be a makeshift jungle camp.
Two men with guns can be seen standing behind them.
The next photo is of the students' bodies slumped on the ground.
The Manipur government said in a statement that work to "identify the perpetrators who murdered the two students" was underway.
Sources allegedly told local media outlet NDTV investigators were also looking into allegations the younger student was raped before she was "murdered".
Through tears, Ruth reflected on the morning she was forced to run from her home of two years.
Her family offered to take as many people as would fit in their car to the airport – but left behind one man who assured them he would get help.
"We came to know that soon after we left, maybe around 10 to 15 minutes, the Meiteis… started vandalising and looting whatever they wanted from my allotted quarter," Ruth said.
“Before his own community came and rescued the person, the Meitei militant group entered our campus and seized his identification card.
"They came to know he was a Kuki, so they looted his place, then the mobs were there and then they burned him alive.
"I feel so sorry for the person."
Ruth has been battling a huge sense of guilt since leaving the man behind.
Her family spent two days in the airport before getting the first flight out, landing in the city of Guwahati where they remain today.
"Manipur is burning right now," Ruth said.
"The churches are all burned down, people are not getting medicine, there are no schools and normal educations… especially in the hilly areas.
"It’s totally another world."
Ruth recently learned of another alleged callous attack on Manipur's tribal people, including a woman in her 40s and another in her 20s believed to be mother and daughter.
She explained: "Two Kuki women, they were paraded naked, and they were gang-raped by the Meiteis.
“It was horrible. I can’t eat food, it’s just too much to take it.”
The father and 19-year-old brother of the younger Kuki-Zomi woman were allegedly beaten to death.
The older woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, sobbed as she told the BBC: "To see how my daughter was treated, after my husband and son were killed, it made me want to die.
“My husband was a church elder. He was soft spoken and kind. His arms were slashed with knives.
“My son was in the 12th grade, a gentle boy who never fought with anyone. He was brutally beaten with rods.
"He was killed because he ran after them [the mob] to try to save his sister. My daughter has not recovered.
"They were killed in front of her."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged the tragedy when a distressing video of the alleged assaults began to circulate – saying it had "shamed India" and "no guilty will be spared".
Seven arrests were made in the case after the video went viral.
Ruth believes Meitei militant groups came to her village posing as state government employees for a "census" just weeks before her home was attacked.
She claimed they marked the entrance of each Kuki home with a red dot.
Kukis and Meiteis are now forbidden from entering the areas the other group dominates.
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But Ruth said many of her Kuki friends are still defending their land from the “firing” of militant Meitei people, or hiding out in makeshift shelters.
The Sun contacted Manipur's chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh, Manipur Police, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for comment. They did not respond.
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