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The BBC's Subir Bhaumik
"No rebel group has claimed responsibility for the attack"
 real 28k

Saturday, 3 March, 2001, 07:52 GMT
Rebels hit Tripura convoy

By Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta

At least 17 people have died in a separatist rebel attack in India's north-eastern state of Tripura on Saturday.

Twelve soldiers were among the dead, according to police in the provincial capital, Agartala.

Although no rebel group has claimed responsibility for the attack, police said there were strong reasons to believe that the rebels of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) were involved in the attack.

Meanwhile at least five NLFT rebels have died in fighting with their rival underground group, the All-Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), during the last two days.

Attack

Tripura police spokesman Joydev Das said a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was attacked by separatist rebels from both sides of a hilly road near Bampur in the state's southern district around 0800 (0230GMT) on Saturday.

The rebels fired on the two vehicles in the convoy with machine guns and automatic rifles, and also lobbed grenades.

Twelve CRPF personnel died on the spot, including an officer, along with two drivers and three civilians who were travelling with the policemen.

The rebels decamped with nine weapons, including light machine gun.

The NLFT has been under some presure during the past one month when many terrorists have been killed or arrested by the police or by rival underground groups.

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See also:

24 Mar 00 | South Asia
Tripura rebels kill five
14 Apr 00 | South Asia
Three killed by Tripura rebels
10 Apr 00 | South Asia
Indian rebels murder and kidnap
13 Jun 00 | South Asia
Tripura's tribal parties merge
21 May 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Tripura's tribal strife
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