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34 tribesmen killed in Assam

Diphu, October 17
Thirtyfour Karbi tribesmen were massacred today by militants and at least 125 houses torched in the worst ever outbreak of ethnic violence in Assamís strife-torn Karbi Anglong district today.

Unidentified assailants, suspected to be Dimasas, massacred 22 Karbi bus passengers at Jengka around 8 am before torching two buses and then moved to nearby Sarsim village where they killed 12 more Karbis three hours later, official sources said. Five persons were injured in the attacks.

The attackers torched 125 houses in different parts of the district, prompting the administration to clamp an indefinite curfew in the district even as reports of fresh incidents of arson poured in.

Twelve of the victims have been identified. Among the 34 killed today, 26 have been hacked to death, three shot dead and five died of burn injuries, the police said.

Several others were also reported to have been taken deep inside the jungles by the extremists and their fate remained unknown.

The latest spell of violence has taken the toll to 69 since the flare up on September 26 between the two warring tribes of Karbi and Dimasa.

The bus passengers reported the incident at the Milu police outpost, Kheroni police station, about 130 km from here. The area has been cordoned off and a massive combing operation has been launched.

Official sources in Guwahati said that Karbi Anglong district did not come under the anti-insurgency Unified Command Structure headquarters 4 Corps at Tezpur, but was under 3 Corps based at Kohima in Nagaland.

Additional troops could not be sent from here as the district was not under the operational jurisdiction of the Unified Command, but had to be requisitioned from Kohima, sources said.

The clash between the tribes began on September 26 when three Dimasa auto-rickshaw drivers were hacked to death by unidentified attackers at Tissom village, under Manja outpost. One of the vehicles was burnt down and another damaged.

Intense retaliatory violence began from October 2 when five members of a Karbi family were hacked to death at Hemari Terang village, followed by killing of another three Karbis at Upper Dikrong two days later.

On October 8, six Dimasas were killed at Borsingbe village while eight Karbis were killed in Langsoliet village a day later. Another five Dimasas were killed at Kheroni village on October 10.

After a dayís respite, a Dimasa woman was hacked to death last Wednesday. Four bodies were recovered from Hojaipur and Bokolia, Singh Teron and Jamunapar areas yesterday. ó PTI
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