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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Indians attack Bangladesh village
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC correspondent in Calcutta

A mob in a village from India's north-eastern state of Tripura has attacked a village in Bangladesh, setting fire to several houses.

The attack comes after the villagers said a local farmer, Nirmal Pal, had been kidnapped and taken into Bangladesh by the guerrillas of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

More than 10 people, including three government officials, have been kidnapped by the rebels in Tripura in the past two days.

Tripura police officials said that some robbers from Bangladesh had assisted the NLFT militants when they abducted Nirmal Pal on Monday.

They said tempers rose in the village of South Baruakandi and a mob gathered with swords, spears, bows and arrows.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the mob crossed the border and stormed into Chungibari village , several kilometres inside Bangladesh.

They set fire to several houses.

It is not yet clear whether any Bangladeshis were killed or injured in the attack.

The Indian villagers returned home at dawn.

Tension high

As news of the attack spread, villagers on the Bangladesh side gathered near the border with weapons.

Indian and Bangladeshi border security forces were rushed to the area to prevent any further attacks but tension was said to be running high.

Tripura rebels
Bangladesh usually denies that Indian militants are on its territory

Meanwhile, Indian intelligence officials say Bangladesh police have arrested nine NLFT rebels from the country's eastern town of Saidabad .

The rebels were reported to be travelling on a bus between the towns of Burichong and Brahmanbaria when they were stopped at a bridge on Saturday.

The arrested included two senior NLFT leaders, Mangal Debbarma and Sumanta Debbarma.

Last December Bangladesh, which normally denies the presence of Indian militants in its territory, admitted that two NLFT factions had fought a gun battle in Burichong, in which seven rebels died.

One Bangladeshi woman in whose house rebels of one NLFT faction were staying, was also killed in the fighting.


SEE ALSO:
Officials abducted in Tripura
20 May 03  |  South Asia
Indian rebels massacre villagers
27 Jan 03  |  South Asia
Tripura rebels kill Indian troops
30 May 02  |  South Asia
Indian rebels ban women
29 Nov 02  |  South Asia
Rebel leader killed in Tripura clash
11 Feb 02  |  South Asia
Analysis: Tripura's tribal strife
21 May 00  |  South Asia


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