13 civilians killed by security forces in Nagaland, 6 tribes decide to withdraw from Hornbill Festival

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By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Thirteen civilians were killed by the security forces in an “ambush” in Nagaland’s Mon district, multiple non-government sources said.

The personnel, said to be para commandos, reportedly mistook the victims as militants and ambushed them, sources said.

The incident took place on Saturday evening, December 4, 2021, when the victims were returning home from a coal mine in a pick-up truck. They were daily wagers at the coal mine.

Mon District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and other senior officials of the police and civil administration were not available for comments.

Konyak (tribe) leaders in the district said six people had lost their lives on Saturday evening and seven others succumbed to their injuries till Sunday morning.

“Thirteen civilians were killed and 11 civilians injured. Two civilians were also reported missing,” a tribal leader, who visited the spot after the incident, told this newspaper requesting anonymity.

“We want action against the guilty personnel. If justice is not delivered, the families will not receive the bodies,” he said, adding, “We are going to all national and international human rights organisations”.

The bodies were being brought to district headquarters Mon for post-mortem. The situation was said to be tense.

“The coal mine is about 15 km from the victims’ village. They come home every Saturday, spend Sunday with family members and then report for duty on Monday morning,” a Konyak leader said.

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) decided to withdraw from the annual Hornbill Festival which is ongoing at Kisama near state capital Kohima.

The ENPO, which represents six tribes, had adopted a resolution earlier against bloodshed in its area.

“How can we dance at the festival when our people are getting killed?” the Konyak leader asked.



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