17 killed as violence erupts in Nagaland and Assam

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Guwahati, May 16 (UNI) Mayhem by militants left 17 dead in Dimapur, Nagaland and North Cachar hills of Assam today.

While in the Dimapur region factional feud is raging between Naga militants, in adjacent North Cachar Hills the radical Black Widow insurgents continued their killing spree for the third consecutive day.

In Nagaland, the NSCN(IM) cadres shot down 14 cadres of rival NSCN (Unification) group, sparking a wild fire of revenge. As a result the NSCN(IM) main camp at Diphufar was run over and destroyed. Two civilians were also killed as the NSCN(IM) fired upon them.

The incident took place at Seitherkina village and 14 rebels were killed, said Dimapur Superintendent of Police L Lotha. He said the situation was tense and his forces were guarding the roads.

But contrary to his claims the security forces were not venturing out on the roads as firing took place at New Market and Diphufar areas of Dimapur town between the two districts.

The National Highway remained blocked and there was no traffic between business hub Dimapur and capital Kohima, a report from Kohima said.

Army sources said the bomb disposal squad had been moved to the Chumukedeima area to remove bombs planted by both factions.

The NSCN(U) informed the media that they had 'vowed' to uproot the NSCN(IM) which had been maintaining a strong hold in Dimapur.

Meanwhile, in Assam's North Cachar hills district one more person was killed at Halfong town taking the death toll to 12 in the past 24 hours.

The NF railway, unable to carry on with the rising attacks on its personnel, has evacuated the staff and their families posted between Lumding and Harangajao stations. The district has virtually come a halt with life paralysed.

There are 21 railway stations between these two stations and according to the NF Railway spokesman approximately 170 families were evacuated by two special trains yesterday.

They are now in makeshift camps of Lumding as the railway service has completely been suspended.

''There is no train service to Silchar and Agartala as it has been suspended indefinitely,'' said the spokesman.

''The situation is very tense and we are taking all possible steps to bring the situation back to order,'' said NC Hills Deputy Commissioner Anil Barua.

The railway gauge conversion work was already suspended as all labourers as well as technicians, operators and engineers of the contractors fled. Similarly the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) workers and engineers, engaged in the construction of the East West corridor, have also fled, informed the NHAI officials from Lumding base.

The Black Widow militants, determined to avenge the killing of 12 of their cadres by the army last week, as well non recognition of their three month long unilateral ceasefire, have vowed to carry on with violent activities.

UNI MT PL NY HT1938

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