Indian security officials mistakenly opened fire on a group of miners riding a minibus in the state of Nagaland in Northeast India, killing six people according to Reuters. The massacre provoked the indignation of the inhabitants. Riots broke out in a nearby village, killing more people.
The incident took place near the village of Oting in the Mon district on the border with Myanmar (formerly Burma) during a counterinsurgency operation led by an Indian army unit called Assam Rifles. The fire was opened when a truck, carrying around 30 miners, passed near the Assam Rifles camp, reports a Reuters agency citing a high-ranking police officer in Nagaland. Workers were returning home from the coal mine. When, after many hours of waiting, the families worried about the fate of their relatives, they sent a reconnaissance which discovered the bodies of the executed miners. Local media say they were shot by mistake.
– The soldiers had intelligence about combat movements in the area. When they saw the truck, they mistook the miners for the rebels and opened fire, killing six people, said a Reuters informant who wanted to remain anonymous.
Tension grows in the village
As news of the accidental massacre spread through the village, Reuters reports, hundreds of indigenous people have surrounded the Indian security camp. “They burned Assam Rifles vehicles and confronted soldiers with primitive weapons,” a local police informant told the agency. As he added, the military reacted to the attacks of the inhabitants by killing more people.
According to the latest reports, at least 15 people were killed that day, including 14 civilians and one Indian soldier. At least 12 civilians and several members of the security services have been injured, said a representative of the Indian Defense Ministry.
Local authorities ensure that the police are in control of the situation in the region.
As Reuters writes, Nagaland residents have repeatedly accused the security forces of mistakenly attacks on civilians during counter-insurgency operations targeting local rebel groups.
Local authorities announce an investigation
Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah released a statement on Sunday saying he was “painfully affected” by the shooting death of Nagaland residents. “The state will investigate this incident in detail and will do everything in their power to do justice to justice,” he promised the victims’ families on Twitter.
Neiphiu Rio, the mayor of the city of Oting, near which the shooting took place, called on the inhabitants to remain calm. He also informed that he had ordered the submission of an application to the prosecutor’s office to initiate an investigation into the case. He assured that the guilty would be punished. He added that an “intelligence error” had led to the tragedy.
Main photo source: Yirmiyan Arthur / AP / East News