At least 14 civilians mistakenly killed by Indian forces in remote northeast – officials – .

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GUWAHATI, India, December 5 (Reuters) – At least 14 tribal civilians and a security personnel were mistakenly killed when Indian forces opened fire indiscriminately in the remote northeastern state of Nagaland, reported government and military officials announced on Sunday.

Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah said he was “distressed” by news of the deaths of civilians in the incident late Saturday night.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio told Reuters that an investigation would be carried out and that the culprits would be punished in the incident, which he blamed for the failure of the intelligence services.

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

The people of Nagaland have frequently accused the forces of falsely targeting innocent residents in their counterinsurgency operations against rebel groups.

The incident occurred in and around the village of Oting in Mon district, on the Myanmar border, during a counterinsurgency operation led by members of the Assam Rifles, part of the force’s deployment. security forces in the state, a senior Nagaland-based police official said.

The shooting began when a truck carrying 30 or more coal mine workers drove past the Assam Rifles camp.

“The soldiers had information about some militant movements in the area and upon seeing the truck, mistook the miners for rebels and opened fire, killing six workers,” the senior police official told Reuters, asking anonymity because he is not allowed to speak with journalists.

“After news of the shooting spread through the village, hundreds of tribesmen surrounded the camp. They set Assam Rifles vehicles on fire and clashed with the soldiers using rudimentary weapons, ”he said.

Members of the Assam Rifles retaliated and in the second attack eight other civilians and a security operative were killed, the official said.

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

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Report by Zarir Hussain; Additional reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, editing by Rupam Jain and William Mallard

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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