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Feuding rebels die in India clash PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 May 2008

At least 12 Naga rebels were killed when two rival separatist factions clashed in India's north-eastern state of Nagaland on Friday, police say, reports BBC.

Police said all the dead belonged to the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).

The clash with the Muivah faction took place in a village not far from Nagaland's commercial centre, Dimapur.

The NSCN is the strongest separatist group in the north-east. It split in 1988 and has seen in-fighting since.

'Heavy casualties'

Both factions blamed each other for starting the fighting early on Friday in the village of Citikhema.

Muivah faction spokesman Kraibo Chawang told the BBC: "The gun battle went on for four hours and the Khaplang faction suffered heavy casualties.

"Our fighters also snatched most of their weapons after beating back the attack."

A Khaplang faction spokesman, Kughalu Mulatonu, blamed the Muivah faction for provoking the attack.

The NSCN split when supporters of the Burmese Naga rebel leader SS Khaplang broke away from the main faction led by Thuingaleng Muivah and Issac Chisi Swu.

Both factions have been maintaining a ceasefire with the Indian security forces since 1997 but they have been fighting viciously amongst each other.

More than 400 rebels have died in factional clashes between these two groups since 1988.

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