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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 18:08 GMT
Three killed in violence in Assam
Security personnel in Assam
Assam has been hit by a recent spate of violence
A Congress party leader and two civilians have been killed in separate incidents in India's north-eastern state of Assam, police said.

Suspected rebels from the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) broke into Chandra Chutia's house in eastern Dibrugarh district and shot him dead.

In Geleki, security forces shot dead two traders and injured a third, apparently mistaking them for rebels.

The deaths of the businessmen have sparked protests in the town.

'Unprovoked' attack

Police say three rebels broke into the house of Mr Chutia, who was a village council chief from Tarani Sachani village, after midnight on Tuesday and shot him dead.

Map of Assam

He is the second leader from the ruling Congress party to be killed in the past week.

At Geleki, police say the three men were stopped at a checkpoint, about 350km (215 miles) east of Guwahati, by paramilitary troops early on Wednesday morning.

When they failed to stop their motorcycles, police said the soldiers fired at them.

The survivor, Arup Saikia, told human rights activists that it was an unprovoked attack.

The BBC's Subir Bhaumik says one of those killed was Nilikesh Gogoi, who was a highly respected local businessman.

Violence

Ulfa warned recently that it would target members of the Congress party which is in power in the state.

The rebels have waged a campaign of violence since talks between mediators assigned by them and the central government broke down in September.

Earlier this month, some 70 mainly Hindi-speaking migrants died in a week of violence blamed on Ulfa.

Ulfa is fighting one of India's longest running insurgencies to establish an independent homeland in Assam.

The rebels say India's government exploits the state's rich resources such as tea and natural gas and does little for its people who are ethnically closer to Burma and China than to India.


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