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Kukis swoop on Karbi hamlets, mow down 6

Nov. 29: The Kuki Revolutionary Army today triggered a fresh round of unrest in Assam by attacking a cluster of Karbi hamlets in Karbi Anglong district in a pre-dawn swoop that left six Karbis dead and nearly 150 dwellings gutted.

More violence followed in the day with the Ulfa ambushing a police team in Dhemaji district, killing three persons, and miscreants looting and setting ablaze a row of shops in the Phulubari weekly market under Doom Dooma police station in Tinsukia district.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today assured an 11-member Samata Party team from Bihar that the situation was returning to normal.

In the Karbi Anglong carnage, the police said over 100 suspected heavily-armed KRA rebels torched houses in Paksangso, Rongkini, Jeialangsu in Balipathar under Bokajan police station in the district at 3.30 am.

When panic-stricken villagers ran for their lives, armed gunmen lying in wait pressed the trigger, killing four on the spot and injuring two. Two others were charred inside their houses.

“The overwhelming stench of puffed, partially burnt and bullet-riddled bodies with pools of blood on the ground can still be felt long after they died, amid the fading smoke from the ashes of the houses,” a witness said.

Kangubura Teron (17), Sing Tokbi (32), Rokosong Timung (25), Kajol Timungpi (5), Kajol Tokbipi (60) and Kong Ingti lost their lives in the carnage.

In the ambush at 3.30 pm near Mejarigaon under Silapathar police station in Dhemaji district, three persons were killed, including a policeman, and four others critically injured.

The police team was unarmed, barring assistant sub-inspector Bivash Baul. Constable Benu Konwar, the civilian driver of the jeep, Indrajit Sonowal, and an unidentified person were killed. The four injured were ASI Baul, constables Sishir Konwar, Girish Patir and Arun Bhuyan.

The Kuki attack comes three days before the December 2 deadline set by the United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS, anti-talks faction) to free all Karbi captives or face the consequences of an anti-KRA operation codenamed “Super Volcano”.

The KRA had earlier launched “Operation Volcano” in late October to protect non-Karbis in the district.

Senior police and district officials rushed to the spot and a combing operation was launched. Relief camps have also been opened.

Karbi organisations have sought a judicial inquiry into the incident and adequate deployment of security in Karbi villages in Kuki pockets, immediate and adequate compensation and rehabilitation to those affected in the carnage.

Though both the militant outfits had intensified the campaign against each other since October, this is the first major strike by the Kuki outfit.

Sources said the Kuki rebels had completely “sanitised” the area before striking. “The panic-stricken Kuki population had been leaving the area in groups,” one of them said.

The strike is likely to delay the return of Kuki villagers to Singhashan Hills from where they have been driven out by the UPDS as part of their anti-outsider drive.

The district administration had yesterday decided to send back the remaining 1,181 Kukis as the situation was returning to normal after deployment of three companies of army personnel in the area.

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