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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 11:08 GMT
India rebels kill police officer
A senior police officer has been killed in an ambush by suspected rebels in India's north-eastern state of Manipur, police say.

Inspector General T Thangthuam was travelling from Churachandpur district to the state capital, Imphal, when rebels fired on his vehicle.

The police said Mr Thangthuam died on the spot. One of his bodyguards was also killed in the firing.

More than 10 rebel groups are active in Manipur.

But no group has claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack.

Mr Thangthuam was working with the state police's intelligence wing.

'Revenge killing'

"It appears to be a revenge killing after security forces killed four militants a few days back," an unnamed security official told Reuters news agency.

Reports say that security forces killed four rebels belonging to United National Liberation Front (UNLF), the largest separatist group in Manipur, during a raid on Tuesday.

Manipur's rebel groups represent the state's majority Hindu Meitei people, but others represent tribes such as the Nagas, Kukis and Zomis.

Most of them are fighting Indian rule.

Manipur became a fully fledged Indian state in 1972, but unrest has simmered since then over the nature of the remote state's relationship with the central Indian government.

Last summer bitter anti-army protests erupted in the state after the death of a young women arrested by paramilitary forces on suspicion of helping insurgents.

The protests were accompanied by demands for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives the army in north-east India sweeping powers to deal with insurgents.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International say the law has allowed the armed forces to commit human rights abuses with impunity.

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