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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Separatists 'kill eight in Assam'
Indian army soldier in Assam
The army is looking for the rebels they say carried out the attack
Eight people have died in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam in an attack by separatist rebels against migrant workers, police say.

The United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) is suspected of carrying out Wednesday night's attack, they say.

Seventy Hindi-speaking migrants were killed in Assam in January.

Ulfa is fighting one of India's longest running insurgencies to establish an independent homeland in the north-eastern state.

The rebels say India's central 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.

Senior police official LR Bishnoi said nearly 30 armed militants raided a remote hamlet in Assam's Karbi Anglong district.

They herded the Hindi-speaking villagers together at gunpoint and then fired at them, he said.

Eight villagers were killed and three others injured in the attack.

'Threat'

Mr Bishnoi said the members of a local tribal militia, Karbi Longpi North-Cacher Liberation Front (Klnlf), may have helped the Ulfa to carry out the attack.

The Klnlf has been carrying on an armed struggle in the area for a homeland for Karbi tribals living in two hill districts of Assam, Karbi Anglong and North Cacher.

Police and paramilitary soldiers have begun operations in the area to find the militants, he added.

The BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says militant groups in north-eastern India are likely to step up attacks ahead of the country's Independence Day on 15 August.

Militants in Assam often target Hindi-speaking migrants and settlers.

The Ulfa killed nearly 70 Hindi-speaking people last January.

They say Hindi-speaking people, who migrated from northern and central India to Assam long ago, pose a threat to the indigenous people of Assam.

Thousands of Hindi-speaking migrants fled the state after the first wave of attacks in January.


SEE ALSO
Two die after Assam market blast
18 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Nine die in fresh Assam violence
08 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Settlers killed in Assam violence
06 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Army plan for India city peace
25 Dec 06 |  South Asia
Bomb blast kills three in India
23 Nov 06 |  South Asia
What hopes for peace in Assam?
20 Oct 06 |  South Asia

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