Five rebels killed in north-eastern India
Five separatist rebels were killed in a gun battle with security forces in India's north-eastern Assam state, news reports said Sunday.
The clash took place late Saturday in a forest area of Nalbari district, about 90 kilometres west of Assam's main city Guwahati, IANS news agency reported quoting police officials, dpa reports.
"A joint team of police, paramilitary and Indian Army soldiers raided the forest reserve following specific intelligence inputs about the presence of a group of militants," army spokesman R Kalia said.
There was a firefight soon after the security forces entered the forest. "The encounter lasted for close to three hours and we managed to gun down five of them," Kalia said.
The security forces recovered four pistols, two grenades, ammunition and radio sets from the slain rebels.
"As of now, we can only say the five killed were definitely terrorists, although the identification process is on," Kalia added.
Local police officials said the dead militants most likely belonged to the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom, a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland since 1979.
India's north-east, which shares borders with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, is a volatile region where nearly 40 separatist, tribal or leftist groups are active in five states. More than 15,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the region in the past decade.