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Militants kill four Rengma villagers

Nagaon, Dec. 27: Suspected militants gunned down four Rengma villagers, three of them women, at Naga Renga, a remote village in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, today.

According to reports, a group of militants, some wearing fatigues, entered the village — under Naga Rengma mouja in Bokajan subdivision, 30km from Santipur police station and around 400km from Guwahati — around 6am and started firing. The villagers tried to flee as soon as they heard gunshots.

“The militants then split into two teams. Those who had guns continued firing at the terrified villagers while the others starting torching the houses one after another,” said Denial Rengma, a villager.

One of the three women killed was Mogu Rengma, wife of the village headman. Their hut at the entrance of the village was the first to be targeted. Another victim, 62-year-old Rhinghola Rengma, was blind. She had unknowingly appeared in front of the militants when they were trying to escape. The third woman killed was Logu Hembu, 40. Guathong Rengma, 45, was the male villager killed.

A police team, led by Karbi Anglong superintendent of police M.J. Mahanta, rushed to the site immediately after the incident was reported.

The trigger for today’s attack is suspected to be a seven-month-old rivalry between the Karbi Peoples’ Liberation Tigers (KPLT) and the new militant group floated by some members of the Naga Rengma community.

On June 9, suspected KPLT militants called the village headmen of all 19 Rengma-dominated villages in the hill district and allegedly served them quit notices, setting July 9 as the deadline.

Rengma organisations later moved the administration, demanding adequate security measures for villagers from probable KPLT attacks.

“We suspected that our village would be attacked five days ago and moved the administration last week, demanding security. Had the administration taken steps, the brutal attack could have been prevented,” Rengma Naga Peoples Council adviser Devid Rengma told The Telegraph.

Karbi Anglong has 18 Rengma villages and the total population of the community is not more than 13,000. The orange orchards of the Rengma Naga mouja are popular all over the Northeast.

Operation: Villagers armed with bows and arrows are assisting policemen, former BLT and NDFB militants in an operation to bust the forest hideouts of the Songbijit faction in Jonai sub-division in Dhemaji district.