Naga villagers killed in rebel crossfire

Feb 25, 2009 (DVB), A clash broke out after an encounter between rival Naga rebel groups on the India-Burma border on 22 February, with reported deaths of villagers caught up in the fighting.

National Socialist Council of Nagaland members led by Thuingaleng Muivah (aka Tui Mwepa), were pursuing a splinter group when the incident occurred.

A Naga national, El Laungsar, who is based on the India-Burma border, said that the villagers from Sumpra in Layshee township bumped into the fleeing splinter group members on the way to a market in Manipur state, India, and talked to them. The NSCN then arrived.

"They were pursued from behind by [the NSCN]," he said. "The villagers were caught up in the clash and died."

The number of deaths is not known.

SPDC soldiers stationed in Nagaland are reportedly ordering Naga villagers in Burma not to go to India. The orders are being defied, however, as villagers continue to cross the border to buy and sell materials such as rice and salt.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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