While one body was identified on January 3, four were identified yesterday and the remaining ones today, Additional SP of Dimapur, Watichuchang Jamir, said. One of the nine, Harlongbi Ingti, was a missing Karbi student leader from Bokajan, a town in the trouble torn Karbi Anglong district and close to the inter-state border.
Ingti was reported to have come to Dimapur for some festive time shopping, the other eight victims were reportedly construction workers in Dimapur and Kohima, said Jamir, who is a member of the SIT constituted to probe the killings. The bodies were identified by the family members who took them back home for the last rites.
Nine might have been killed over a week ago as the bodies were decomposed.
However, it was still not clear how they were killed. The bodies of the nine persons, who were blindfolded with hands tied and shot from close range, have been found at a gorge at Pachaspura near Chumukedima. The corpses were stacked atop each other and were covered with a polythene sheet on which some boulders were placed.
It was suspected that the nine might have been killed over a week ago as the bodies were decomposed beyond recognition. The police were not ruling out the possibility of the crime being committed in some other place and the bodies then dumped in the area.
Jamir said the SIT began its investigation yesterday and no arrests were made. Dimapur Deputy Commissioner N Hushili Sema appealed to the people to maintain peace and extend help to the district administration and the police to curb violence as tension prevailed in Bokajan-Dimapur border areas.
In a press release, the DC requested all not to spread rumours of killings, identity of victims or perpetrators and intimate the police about information of armed groups especially along border areas. Jamir said the situation was still tense along the border where security was tightened.
There has been tension in Karbi Anglong district due to the recent violence and imposition of curfew following the killing of six persons, including two militants, there. Four persons, including three women, were killed by Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers militants and in retaliation two ultras were killed by Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force while several houses were also torched on December 27.
Meanwhile, a meeting between civil societies from both Dimapur and Karbi Anglong was held at the District Hospital Dimapur premises yesterday. The meeting focused on maintaining brotherly relation between the Karbis and the Nagas. Karbi Students' Association, to whom one of the nine victims belonged, attended the meeting.