Nagaland: 9 bullet-riddled bodies found, Karbi-Rengma clash fallout suspected

Nine highly decomposed bodies were found stacked on top of each other in a ditch at Pachaspura, six km from the Dimapur DC office complex, Friday afternoon. The victims had been blindfolded, with their hands tied behind and shot in the head from a close range, Karbi Anglong SP Mugdha Jyoti said.

One of the bodies has been identified as a Karbi youth from the adjoining Karbi Anglong district in Assam. With the Nagaland police confirming that the bodies bore bullet marks, the Assam Police now suspect that the killings were related to the on-going clash between Karbi and Rengma communities in the Assam district.

Meanwhile, a person belonging to the Karbi community was killed when three miscreants opened fire in Kalagaon village under Bokajan police station in Karbi Anglong district around 7 pm Saturday.

"We have identified one of the bodies to be that of one Harlangbi Ingti (23) of Rongkimi village under Bokajan police station in Karbi Anglong district. He was a student who also had a broiler farm, and had remained missing since December 28 when he had gone to Dimapur in Nagaland for shopping," Mahanta said on Saturday.

Four more persons — all Karbis working as construction labourers in Kohima —have been reported missing since December 30 after they had informed their families back in Karbi Anglong that they were heading home for New Year, Mahanta said. With all the nine bodies suspected to be of Karbi tribals from Assam, Mahanta added that they might have been killed in retaliation to the attack on Rengma villages in the Assam district. The Rengma is a Naga community with about 10,000 people in Assam and about 60,000 in Nagaland.

Meanwhile, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio announced setting up a 4-member Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by DIG Liremo Lotha to probe into the killings. Condemning the crime as heinous and "repugnant to all norms of civilized human behavior" Rio also appealed to the people to remain calm and maintain peace.

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