34 killed in Bodo militant attacks in Assam

Guwahati: At least 34 people were killed when Bodo militants fired indiscriminately at villagers in Assam's Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts, police said.

An Assam Police spokesman confirmed that 34 people, including four women, were killed in four incidents of firing by cadres of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) faction opposed to peace talks.

"While 24 people were killed in Biswanath area in Sonitpur district, six were killed by militants in Dhekiajuli area in the district," he said.

"In another attack in Pakhiriguri area in Kokrajhar district, NDFB militants fired indiscriminately and killed four women and injured four other people," the spokesman said.

He said police also have reports of firing by militants at a village in Ultapani area.

Though police have reports of three people being killed, they were yet to receive the bodies "and it is difficult to confirm without recovering the bodies", he said.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) S.N. Singh said the NDFB faction opposed to peace talks was behind the incident.

The militants attacked the villages as a response to the intensified operation by the security forces, he said.

A state home department official, on condition of anonymity, also said there were four incidents of violence by the NDFB in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur.

"The death toll is likely to increase. We are waiting for a final report," he said.

The NDFB had Monday triggered a grenade blast in Patgaon in Kokrajhar district, injuring three people.

A joint team of Assam Police commandos and the army had Sunday killed two Bodo militants in neighbouring Chirang district, close to the Bhutan border.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Tuesday said termed the attack a cowardly act of the militants and said his government will not bow down to any militant threat.

Three ministers - Rockybul Hussain, Tanka Bahadur Rai and Prithibi Majhi - have rushed to Sonitpur, while two other ministers, Nilamoni Sen Deka and Basanta Deka, and Parliamentary Secretary (Home) Atuwa Munda were in Kokrajhar to take stock of the situation.

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