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Villagers killed in Assam attack

5 October 09 10:09 GMT

Separatist rebels have killed at least 11 people in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, police say.

Nine other villagers were injured in the attack on Sunday night in the state's Sonitpur district.

Police blamed the attack on a hardline faction of the separatist National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

The NDFB has been negotiating with the government for the past five years, but a hardline group led by its former chairman Ranjan Daimary have fought on.

Mr Daimary's supporters were blamed for explosions in four towns in Assam last October, in which 87 people were killed.

Officials said militants belonging to Mr Daimary's faction attacked two villages on Sunday evening and began firing indiscriminately at its residents.

Five villagers were killed on the spot, police said. Six others died of their wounds in hospital. The dead included women and children.

Police have cordoned off the villages and nearby areas and are carrying out a combing operation, officials say.

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