Tribal outfit continues murderous rampage in Assam, toll 23 (Second Lead)By IANS
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
GUWAHATI - Tribal separatists continued their killing spree in Assam Tuesday, gunning down three more non-tribals and taking the death toll in overnight serial attacks to 23, police said.
Militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) Tuesday afternoon attacked and killed two people near Ultapani village in Kokrajhar district, about 260 km west of Assam’s main city Guwahati.
“Two non-tribal people were killed in the attack. The casualty figure could go up as we suspect some more people could have been either injured or killed,” Kokrajhar police chief P.K. Dutta told IANS on the telephone.
“The area where the incident took place is close to the Bhutan border and is densely forested. Hence it is difficult to access the location to get further details.”
One more man was killed and seven injured in two separate attacks in the same district late Tuesday taking the toll in two days of their stepped-up offensive to 23.
A police spokesperson said NDFB militants raided Dauraghat village in Kokrajhar around 9 p.m. killing one person and wounding six more, one of them critically.
Militants armed with automatic weapons fired indiscriminately on the minority Muslim village, killing a 65-year-old man and injuring six more, including a woman.
In another incident, NDFB militants fired on a group of road construction workers, injuring one person.
The NDFB has been carrying out coordinated strikes since Monday evening.
The Assam government has sounded a security alert and announced a coordinate security offensive.
“We are not going to be cowed down by terror. The army, police and paramilitary forces have launched massive operations in NDFB pockets,” Gogoi said.
A police spokesperson said 15 of those killed were from Sonitpur district - eight of them, including a woman, bus passengers.
The attacks came hours after security forces Monday morning gunned down an NDFB militant in Sonitpur district.
The tribal separatists had threatened to kill 20 or more people in retaliation and lived up to their warning.
“Mahesh Basumatary, who the police claimed was an NDFB militant and was killed Monday, is an innocent Bodo civilian. So we took revenge for his death,” NDFB spokesperson B. Sadbangso told IANS on the telephone from an undisclosed location.
“We warn of more violent attacks if the security forces continue with their offensive against us.”
On Nov 1, the NDFB threatened to kill 20 or more people for every Bodo killed by the security forces.
“One innocent Bodo would be equal to 20 Indians or may be more. We don’t care who they are, Indian civilian or Indian forces,” B. Jwngkhang of the Bodoland Army, the NDFB armed wing, said in an e-mailed statement Nov 1.
Security forces in the past three months have killed at least 20 NDFB cadres, besides arresting more than 15 militants even as the tribal group continued with a series of kidnappings for money.
The NDFB is fighting for an independent homeland for the Bodo tribe in Assam. There are some three million Bodo tribal people in the state of 26 million people.