KOKRAJHAR, India, May 2 (UPI) -- Militant members of India’s Bodo tribal group, who demand a separate state, killed 11 people in attacks on two villages in northeastern Assam state Thursday, police said.
Police official A.P. Raut said the attacks were committed by National Front of Bodoland, a local group agitating for years for its own government. Both villages are in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts, an area granted semiautonomous status in 2003 by the Indian government. Although the Front demands statehood, fewer than 30 percent of residents of the districts are Bodos.
Three people died in a machine gun attack in the Baska district, and eight more died in Kokrajhar.
Raut said the militants live in forests adjacent to the villages, adding, “There, the extremists have the advantage of sneaking in and spraying a few bullets and then melting away.”
The Assam government has asked the central government in New Delhi for 1,000 paramilitary troops to reinforce the local police and army presence.
All 11 victims in the attacks were Muslim and nine were women, but Kokrajhar police officer L.R. Bishnoi noted the militants have targeted various ethnic groups in the past.