GAUHATI, India (AP) — At least five Indian soldiers and two civilians were killed Saturday in an ambush by suspected rebels in the northeastern state of Manipur bordering Myanmar, police said.
The rebels ambushed a convoy of India’s paramilitary soldiers who were on their way to inspect a remote village in Churachandpur district, a police officer in the state capital Imphal said. The dead include a colonel of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force of the Indian army, his wife and his son.
Police said the rebels opened fire with automatic weapons, killing all seven people on the spot.
Security reinforcements have been rushed to the area and launched a search for the rebels.
Police said it was likely the ambush was carried out by the People’s Liberation Army, a Manipur-based rebel group that has been fighting against Indian rule in the state. So far no rebel group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Manipur is plagued by a decades-old insurgency that seeks a separate homeland for its ethnic and tribal population.
Nearly 20 rebel groups are active in the remote state, which is expected to go to polls early next year.