At least 34 people were killed, including 13 children and 10 women, when heavily armed NDFB(S) militants launched simultaneous attacks on Adivasi settlers in four different locations spread in two Assam districts, Kokrajhar and Sonitpur, Tuesday evening. The toll is likely to rise. Unconfirmed reports put the toll at 40.
Confirming the incident, Assam DGP Khagen Sarma told The Indian Express that the NDFB(S) militants attacked Adivasi settlers in four places, with the casualty reported to be highest in a village near the Pabhoi reserve forest in Sonitpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
As many as 24 deaths have been confirmed from this village till 10 pm Tuesday. The attacks are believed to have been carried out in retaliation to the killing of several NDFB(S) militants by security forces in the past few weeks.
“Reports reaching the police headquarters have put the death toll at 34, but the figure is definitely going to rise,” he said. The attacks, all said to have been carried out with AK-series weapons, took place between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm, he said.
The four places where the attacks took place are Phulbari village near Pabhoi reserve forest and Batasipur near Dhekiajuli (both in Sonitpur district) and Serfanguri and Ultapani (both in Kokrajhar district).
DGP Sarma said the casualties were highest in Simangpara near Phulbari, an Adivasi settlement north of Pabhoi reserve forest, which is a remote village close to the Arunachal Pradesh border.
Reports meanwhile said two persons each have been killed in Ultapani-Saralpara and Serfanguri, both in Kokrajhar district.
The police had inputs about a likely attack by the NDFB(S) in select pockets as retaliation to the death of several of their cadres in the past 30 days, the DGP said.
However, there were apparently no input as to which could be the likely targets, he said. At least three militants were killed last week alone.
It was only in the afternoon Tuesday that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had warned that the militants would be dealt with very strongly.
“We will not tolerate any threat from any group. The government will not bow to any pressure while tackling terrorist groups,” Gogoi had said on the sidelines of an official function.
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