Indian army battles rebel groups

At least 12 people including 10 tribal separatists were killed in India's northeastern state of Assam where rebels set off an explosion under a freight train and attacked an oil installation, officials said on Saturday.


    Hmar rebel threat to Indian army
    on rise

    An army spokesman said troops shot dead seven rebels of the outlawed Hmar People's Convention (HPC) on Friday in Cachar district, 350 km southeast of the state capital Guwahati.


    "The HPC rebels numbering about 10 were holed up inside a fortified bunker when our troops launched a raid on their hideout, killing seven of them," the army official said.


    A large quantity of arms and ammunition, including AK-47 assault rifles, was recovered from the dead rebels, he said.


    The HPC is fighting for greater autonomy for the Hmar tribe, living in parts of southern Assam and adjoining Mizoram state.


    ULFA attack


    In another attack late on Friday two paramilitary troops, guarding a crude oil pumping station in Assam's eastern Tinsukia district were killed when rebels attacked, police said.


    Rebels keep Indian troops
    on their toes

    One rebel, from the United Liberation Front of Asssam (ULFA), also died in the assault on the station belonging to Oil India Limited (OIL).


    "Rebels wearing army uniforms hijacked a bus carrying OIL employees and drove it inside the oil installation," Tinsukia district magistrate BN Das said.


    Troops challenged the rebels and the three died in the gunbattle. The rebels also fired grenades at the installation, but missed the target and did not cause any damage, Das said.


    The ULFA has been engaged in fighting for an independent Assam state for the last 24 years.


    Bodo rebel challenge


    In the third incident late on Friday, soldiers killed two rebels of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in western Assam, close to the border with Bhutan, the army official said.


    The NDFB was believed to be responsible for a bombing of railtracks on Friday night that blew up eight bogies of a train hauling cement, said Asish Bhutani a senior official for western Assam's Kokrajhar district.


    No one was hurt in the blast around 260 km west of Guwahati, but it twisted around 15 metres of rail track, impeding service to and from India's northeast.


    The NDFB has been fighting for an independent region for the Bodo community in north-east India for the last 15 years.


    Both the ULFA and NDFB operate from bases in neighbouring Bhutan where they have defied warnings by the government to leave. 



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