Army denies reports of 12 militants killed in Assam

May 10th, 2008 - 4:54 pm ICT by admin  

Guwahati, May 10 (IANS) Army authorities have denied reports in the media about the death of 12 tribal separatists in Assam in a shootout Saturday, officials said. Local television channels and agencies reported that 12 militants of the Jewel Gorlosa faction of the outlawed Dima Halam Daoga (DHD), popularly known as the Black Widow, were killed in an encounter with soldiers in Assam’s North Cachar Hills district.

“There was an encounter no doubt, but we have absolutely no reports of any casualties or bodies of militants being recovered so far although some news agencies and television channels did report about 12 Black Widow rebels killed,” army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told IANS by telephone from the Four Corps headquarters in Tezpur in northern Assam.

The army official said there was exchange of fire between militants and an army column near Harailo village, about 280 km south of Guwahati.

“Militants fired at the soldiers and there was a firefight although we do not know of any casualties,” the army spokesman said.

The Black Widow is a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland for the Dimasa tribe in the region.

A splinter faction of the DHD is currently on a ceasefire with New Delhi and is holding peace talks.

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