Guwahati: Thirteen villagers and a soldier were killed in a Indo-Myanmar border district in Nagaland as a counter-insurgency operation went awry on Saturday, sources said. Union minister Amit Shah said a Special Investigation Team will probe the matter.
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- The security forces were set for a counter-insurgency operation in Mon district that borders Myanmar, sources said. Following a tip-off about possible movement of insurgents, they had laid an ambush near Oting village on Saturday afternoon.
- But they opened fire on a vehicle on the Tiru-Oting road, which was carrying villagers, police sources said. Six villagers died when the forces opened fire, two died later while being taken to the hospital, sources said..
- Soon after, angry locals surrounded the security forces. Police sources said five villagers were died and six were injured as the forces opened fire at the mob in “self defense”. A soldier also died and three vehicles of the security forces were also set on fire.
- In a statement, the army said: “Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon District, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted”.
- “The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” the statement added. It also said security forces have suffered severe injuries in the incident, and a soldier died.
- Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted: “Anguished over an unfortunate incident in Nagaland’s Oting, Mon. I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. A high-level SIT constituted by the State govt will thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families.
- “The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured. High level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections,” tweeted Chief Minister Rio.
- The Chief Minister, who was in Delhi, is on way back and is likely to hold a cabinet meeting, government sources said. Mobile internet and SMS services have been blocked in Mon district to stop circulation of rumours.
- The Mon area is the stronghold of Naga group NSCN(K) and even ULFA and the incident comes ahead of the state’s signature “Hornbill festival”, which will be attended by several diplomats who are already in the area.
- The Konyak community, to which the villagers belonged, said it has decided to abstain from any further participation in the Hornbill Festival. Six other tribal groups also said they will not participate in the festival.