Suspected rebels on Sunday ambushed and killed eight Indian paramilitary soldiers in the remote, troubled northeast, police said.
Naga rebels armed with automatic weapons fired at two trucks carrying the soldiers in Nagaland state, in a region bordering Myanmar, police said. The mountainous region is known for its natural beauty but has been battling insurgency for decades.
Violence has flared recently since the Naga rebels and Indian government called off peace talks last month. The rebels demand an independent homeland in India’s northeast, where nearly 2 million Naga tribespeople live mainly in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh state.
The Indian government is offering wide autonomy but demands the rebels end their separatist campaign and says it cannot redraw state borders to allow all the Nagas to live together in one state.
On Sunday, another six Indian soldiers were injured and four were missing in Mon district, nearly 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state. Indian soldiers fired back and killed one of the attackers, a police officer said. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
Police blamed the Khaplang faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland for the killings.
Sunday’s was the rebels’ second attack on Indian forces in recent weeks. They killed three soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh state last month.
On Saturday, the Indian army killed three rebel fighters in Manipur state.