GARTALA, India, July 16, Reuter: Rebel’ tribesmen waging a guerrilla war to force immigrants out of the northeastern Indian State of Tnpura shot dead five villagers and’ five policemen, police said’ today.

Police said six Tripura National Volunteer guerrillas opened fire with automatic weapons on a village house last night killing five Bengali speaking migrants and injuring six others before burning down 14 shops and the village market.

Another group armed with submachine guns and rifles ambushed a paramilitary platoon sent to investigate, killing an officer, three constables and a guide, police told Reuters.

They said the platoon returned fire for 30 minutes before retreating two km (1.5 miles) with the casualties towards their camp while the guerrillas slipped into nearby jungles.

The guerrillas aim to drive the migrants out of the traditional tribal areas and create an independent homeland in the State bordering Bangladesh. They recently warned immigrants to leave Tripura immediately or face dire consequences and urged tribes people to boycott assembly elections scheduled for December.

Last year, 103 people were killed in separatist violence in Tripura which has a population of 2.6 million people, 70 per cent immigrants from Bangladesh.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 24, 1987