Indian Army kills 13 civilians in botched counter-intelligence operation; one soldier also dead

Kohima/Bhubaneswar: Thirteen civilians and a soldier were killed in Nagaland in what sources say was a botched counter-insurgency operation on Sunday.

The Army regretted the ‘unfortunate loss of lives’ in Oting village in Mon district of Nagaland, bordering Myanmar.

Tracking the movement of insurgents, the Army had planned an ambush on the Tiru-Oting road but the operation went disastrously wrong.

“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. “The security forces have suffered severe injuries in the incident including one soldier who succumbed to the injuries.”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah condemned the killings.

Anguished over an unfortunate incident, he said, “I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives.”

Shah said a high-level Special Investigation Team has been constituted by the state government and it will “thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families.”

A security force jawan was also killed in the incident.

In the meantime, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, appealed for calm.

He also condemned the unfortunate incident.

“Condolences to the bereaved families and speedy recovery of those injured. High level SIT will investigate and justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections,” he said.

Initial report states that the security forces acting on a tip off, had planned an ambush on the Tiru-Oting road, but mistook the villagers to be insurgents.

As villagers were killed in the firing in a case of mistaken identity, the locals surrounded the security forces who again fired in self-defence.

(With IANS inputs)

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