The Indian Army has issued a statement expressing regret over the killing of 13 civilians in an encounter that took place in the Oting and Tiru villages of Mon district on Sunday. According to reports, the 11 youths who were gunned down were mistakenly identified as insurgents. A high level SIT inquiry has been announced to probe into the incident.
"Anguished over an unfortunate incident in Nagaland's Oting, Mon. I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. A high-level SIT constituted by the State govt will thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice to the bereaved families," tweeted Home Minister Amit Shah.
Local villagers have protested the killings, with some protests escalating into violence e as vehicles of security officers were torched. The Army said that it had received "credible information" regarding the presence of insurgents in the area but "deeply regretted" the turn of events.
The youths, who worked as daily-wage labourers, were returning to the village of Tiru when they were fired upon by the Army who mistook them for members of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang (NSCN-K) outfit which runs kidnapping and extortion activities. They aim to establish of a 'greater Nagaland' comprising of Naga dominated areas of the neighbouring States within India, and contiguous areas in Myanmar.
Nagaland deputy chief minister Yanthungo Patton too urged for peace and tweeted, "Oting's (Mon) disturbing and tragic incident in which civilians were killed will be thoroughly investigated and justice will be served. Condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. In the wake of the tragedy, I urge peace from everyone!"
Assam Rifles officials said the security forces too have suffered injuries in the operation, including one fatality. Regretting the loss of lives, the Assam Rifles said a specific operation was plainned in Tiry based on the credible intelligence of a likely movement of insurgents. "Cause of loss of lives is being probed by a Court of Inquiry at highest level and appropriate action will be taken," the Assam Rifles said, as reported by ANI.