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10 killed in rebel attack in northeast India

02 May 2014, 11:53

Gauhati - Separatist militants opened fire with automatic weapons on Muslim villagers in remote northeastern India, killing at least 10 people in two attacks, police said on Friday. Four people were wounded.

Rebels from one faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland were behind the attacks late on Thursday, said LR Bishnoi, the inspector general of police in the Kokrajhar district of Assam state.

All the dead were Muslims, he said.

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, 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.

The same area where Thursday's attacks took place saw fierce clashes between Bodo tribals and Muslim residents in 2012.

Dozens of rebels groups have been fighting the government and sometimes each other for years in the seven states in northeast 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.

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- AP

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