At least 13 persons were killed by security forces and several injured at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district on Saturday evening during an anti-insurgency operation.
One army personnel was also reportedly killed in the attack, the army confirmed.
“Based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned to be conducted in the area of Tiru, Mon District, Nagaland. The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per the course of law,” the army said in a statement.
Local officials said the army team opened fire on a group of men, who were returning from work in a coal mine. “They were innocent civilians,” a tribal leader claimed.
According to him, local residents, who had gone in search of the workers and found their bodies, attacked the army team and set their vehicles on fire.
Several security forces personnel suffered severe injuries in the incident.
Condeming the incident, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted on Sunday morning, “The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable.Condolences to the bereaved families & speedy recovery of those injured. High level SIT will investigate & justice delivered as per the law of the land.Appeal for peace from all sections.”
Home minister Amit Shah also condemned the incident and said a high level Special Investigation Team (SIT) will be set up to ensure justice is meted out to the families of those killed in the incident.
Mon shares border with Myanmar and is believed to a transit route for insurgents in the Northeast taking shelter in the neighbouring country.