(Kokrajhar -Assam) At least 10 people were killed and four others wounded as militants armed with automatic weapons opened fire in India’s remote north-east. LR Bishnoi, the inspector general of Kokrajhar district in Assam state, said the killings took place in two separate attacks late yesterday.
He said rebels from a faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland were behind the attacks and that those killed belonged to the minority Muslim community.
The group has three factions. He gave no reason for the attacks. The first attack took place in a village in Baksa district in western Assam when at least eight rebels opened fire on a group of villagers sitting in a courtyard. Three people were killed on the spot and two others wounded, Mr Bishnoi said.
According to eyewitnesses quoted by local television channels, the second attack took place in Kokrajhar district when more than 20 armed men broke open the doors of two homes and sprayed them with bullets killing seven people.
The rebel group has been fighting for a separate homeland for the region’s ethnic Bodo people. The Bodos are an indigenous tribe in Assam, making up 10% of the state’s 33 million people. Dozens of rebels groups have been fighting the government and sometimes each other for years in the seven states in north-east India.
They demand greater regional autonomy or independent homelands for the indigenous groups they represent. The rebels accuse the federal government of exploiting the region’s rich mineral resources but neglecting the local people. At least 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in such violence in Assam state alone.