Five tribals killed, village torched in AssamJune 3rd, 2009 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS
Guwahati/Imphal, June 3 (IANS) At least five tribals were killed and several injured Wednesday in an early morning strike by separatist militants who also set ablaze an entire village in strife-torn North Cachar Hills district in southern Assam, police said.
In a separate incident, two insurgents of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) were killed in a shootout with paramilitary Assam Rifles personnel in Chandel district in eastern Manipur.
“A group of terrorists struck at Boro Chamon village, under Haflong police station in Assam’s militancy ravaged North Cachar Hills district early in the morning and fired indiscriminately killing five Zeme Naga tribals on the spot and injuring 10 people,” a senior police official told reporters in Guwahati.
“Before fleeing from the area, the tribal guerrillas, yet to identified, set on fire all the 56 houses in the village,” the official said.
The dominant Dimasa tribe and Zeme Naga tribe have been engaged in a turf war in the hill district where several militant outfits including Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), Dima Halam Daogah-Jewel faction, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and NSCN (Khaplang faction), are also active.
In Manipur, Assam Rifles troopers during routine patrolling engaged in a half-hour gun battle with the UNLF ultras and shot dead two rebels on the spot while the other cadres managed to escape at Chakpi village in Chandel district.
“A sophisticated rifle, two magazines, large cache of ammunition and an improvised gun were recovered from the spot,” a Manipur police spokesman said.
According to police officials, over 200 people have so far been killed in militancy-related incidents in Manipur this year.
Security has been intensified along the Nagaland-Assam border to prevent Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel Gorlosa faction) militants from sneaking in following the crackdown on insurgent groups by army and paramilitary forces in North Cachar Hills district.
“A strict vigil is being kept on the Nagaland-Assam border, especially in Niuland area of Dimapur district and Peren district, where the fleeing DHD militants might infiltrate,” said Assam Rifles inspector general Pallab Choudhury.
A central team headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security) Raman Srivastava visited the trouble-torn southern Assam last month and held a series of discussions with state government, security and railway officials.
“After the central team’s visit, the union government has asked the Assam government to step up security in North Cachar Hills district following repeated attacks by militants on trains, civilians and security forces,” said Assam Chief Secretary P.C. Sharma.
Meanwhile, Special Task Force (STF) commandos arrested North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) chief executive member (CEM) Mohet Hojai and two other senior officials last week for alleged links with the outlawed outfit, Dima Haolam Daogah (DHD) or the Black Widow group.
After Hojai’s arrest, the Assam government has recommended to the governor to suspend the NCHAC.