At least 13 civilians mistakenly killed by Indian forces in country's northeast

YE AUNG THU / AFP

At least 13 tribal civilians and one security personnel were mistakenly killed when Indian forces opened fire in the remote northeastern state of Nagaland, government and military officials said on Sunday.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said he was "anguished" at the news of civilians being killed in the incident late on Saturday night.

Nagaland's chief minister Neiphiu Rio told Reuters a probe will be conducted and the guilty punished in the incident, which he ascribed to intelligence failure.

At least a dozen civilians and some members of the security forces were injured in the attack, said a federal defence ministry official based in New Delhi.

Locals in Nagaland have frequently accused forces of wrongly targeting innocent civilians in their counterinsurgency operations against rebel groups.

The incident took place in and around Oting village in Mon district, bordering Myanmar, during a counterinsurgency operation conducted by members of the Assam Rifles, a part of Indian security forces deployment in the state, said a senior police official based in Nagaland.

Firing began when a truck carrying 30 or more coal-mine workers were passing the Assam Rifles camp area.

"The troopers had intelligence inputs about some militant movement in the area and on seeing the truck they mistook the miners to be rebels and opened fire killing six labourers," the senior police official told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak with journalists.

"After the news of firing spread in the village, hundreds of tribal people surrounded the camp. They burnt Assam Rifles vehicles and clashed with the troopers using crude weapons," he said.

Members of the Assam Rifles retaliated, and in the second attack eight more civilians and a security member were among those killed, the official said.

In recent years India has tried to persuade Myanmar to evict rebels from bases in the thick jungles of the region, which borders Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

More from International

  • North Korea says latest satellite launch exploded in flight

    North Korea said its attempt to launch a new military reconnaissance satellite ended in failure on Monday when a newly developed rocket engine exploded in flight.

  • Israeli attack on Rafah tent camp kills 45

    An Israeli airstrike triggered a massive blaze killing 45 people in a tent camp in the Gaza city of Rafah, officials said on Monday, prompting an outcry from global leaders who urged the implementation of a World Court ruling to halt Israel's assault.

  • Over 2,000 could be buried in Papua New Guinea landslide, authorities say

    More than 2,000 people could be buried alive by a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea last week, the government said on Monday, as treacherous terrain and the difficulty of getting aid to the site raises the risk few survivors will be found.

  • At least 18 killed in US storms

    Powerful storms killed at least 18 people, injured hundreds and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central US.

  • Cyclone Remal leaves millions without electricity

    Strong winds and heavy rain pounded the coastal regions of Bangladesh and India as severe cyclone Remal made landfall on Sunday, leaving millions without electricity after power poles fell and trees were uprooted by gusty winds.