At least 11 civilians were allegedly killed by Assam Rifles during a security operation in Nagaland’s Mon district on Saturday evening, according to news agency PTI.
The exact number of fatalities, however, is yet to be ascertained as 11 people died on the spot, and several others succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in neighbouring Assam, a police officer told PTI. He said an investigation is underway to ascertain whether the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
The incident took place between Oting and Tiru villages when some daily-wage labourers were returning home in a pick-up van from a coal mine, the police officer said.The vehicle was allegedly fired upon by security personnel, who were conducting an operation in the area after receiving inputs on the movement of militants of Yung Aung faction of proscribed outfit NSCN (K), he said. Mon shares a porous international border with Myanmar, where the Yung Aung faction of NSCN (K) is based.
Condemning the incident and appealing for “peace from all sections”, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio Sunday ordered a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe.
“The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured. High level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections,” tweeted Chief Minister Rio.
The Assam Rifles also issued a statement saying the incident is “deeply regretted” and that it will be investigated by a Court of Inquiry. It said the security operation was planned based on “credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents”. Several security forces suffered severe injuries and a jawan succumbed to his injuries, it said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed his condolences to the victims’ families. He tweeted: “Anguished over an unfortunate incident in Nagaland’s Oting, Mon. I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. A high-level SIT constituted by the State govt will thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families.”
Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton promised that justice will be delivered.
“Oting’s (Mon) disturbing and tragic incident in which civilians were killed will be thoroughly investigated and justice will be served. Condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. In the wake of the tragedy, I urge peace from everyone!” he tweeted.