Monday, March 4

Militants kill 14 in Assam market attack



Suspected militants today attacked a crowded marketplace in Kokrajhar district in India’s north eastern state of Assam killing 14 people and wounding at least 20 others.

One of the attackers was killed when security forces returned the fire, reports our New Delhi correspondent quoting authorities and state officials.

Assam Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay said the attack at Balajan Tiniali market, 12 km from Kokrajhar, was suspected to have been carried out by heavily-armed militants of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S).

He said, 12 people were killed on the spot when the militants, who came in a van at around 12.30pm (local time), opened fire. Two others died on their way to the hospital, another police official said.

One of the attackers was killed when security forces rushed in and retaliated with gunfire, Sahay said. Last reported, the identity of the killed militant was yet to be identified.

The attack came in the midst of a high security alert sounded by Assam authorities apprehending terror strike by insurgent groups in the run up to the Indian Independence day on August 15.

Six of the killed have been identified as Mazhar Ali, Salam Ali, Danda Basumatary, Moniram Basumatary, Parmeswar Basumatary and Tapan Chakraborty.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has condemned the killings and directed the district authorities to provide medical aid to the injured.

Sonowal, who was sworn in as the first BJP chief minister of Assam on May 24, said his government is committed to ensuring the safety of life and property of the people of Assam.

“Our government is committed to take stern action against extremists outfit to ensure the safety of civilians,” he said.

“We will not tolerate any threat from any group. The government will not bow to any pressure while tackling terrorist groups,” he said, adding all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police across the state have been directed to be on high alert following the attack and in view of the upcoming Independence Day.

The chief minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to him and conveyed their condolences.

Today’s attack was the biggest incident of violence since the December 2014 attack on Adivasis in Sonitpur, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts by NDFB(S) militants.