Arunachal Pradesh MLA, his son among 11 killed by militants
Suspected militants of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) on Tuesday shot dead 11 people, including an MLA who was contesting assembly elections and his son, in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district, police said.
Forty-five-year-old Tirong Aboh was travelling from Assam’s Dibrugarh to his constituency, Khonsa West, from where he was seeking re-election. Polling for 60 assembly seats was held along with two Lok Sabha seats in the state on April 11.
“As per the police report, 11 persons including the sitting MLA from Khonsa West Tirong Aboh were ambushed and killed at 12th Mile, 20km between Khonsa and Deomali road, by armed militants,” Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu said in a statement. “Action will be initiated to hunt down the perpetrators,” he added. The police said Aboh, his son, two security officers and close associates were killed in the suspected NSCN-IM attack that took place at 11.30am. Another security officer was admitted to a hospital in Dibrugarh in a critical state.
“Tirong Aboh was moving in a convoy with four vehicles when they were stopped by armed men and were fired upon,” said Arunachal Pradesh director general of police (DGP) SBK Singh.
The attack was believed to have been carried out by the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN, one of several separatist groups in the area, a person aware of the developments said. The faction had previously targeted Aboh in 2009 and 2014. Known as NSCN-IM, the group is fighting for the creation of an independent state for the Naga people.
The government had blamed another NSCN faction for the killing of 20 Indian Army soldiers in an attack in neighbouring Manipur in 2015. Indian security forces launched retaliatory raids on the group across the Myanmar border after the attacks.
The seven north-eastern are home to several militant groups that demand greater autonomy or secession.
An image circulating on social media platforms showed the National People’s Party MLA’s bullet-ridden body sitting in his car. Hindustan Times, however, could not independently verify the authenticity of the image.
“The NPP is extremely shocked and saddened by the news of the death of its MLA Shri Tirong Aboh and his family,” chief of the NPP – allied to the Bharatiya Janata Party – and Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma tweeted.
Aboh contested and won from Khonsa West in 2014 on a People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) ticket but he and six other PPA legislators switched sides to the NPP in July last year.
In March, a group of NSCN militants attacked two NPP supporters in Tirap district, killing one of them.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh and MoS home affairs Kiren Rijiju condemned the attack. “Shocked and anguished by the killing of MLA Tirong Aboh ji, his family & others in Arunachal Pradesh. It is an outrageous attempt to disturb peace and normalcy in the North East. The perpetrators of this heinous crime will not be spared. My condolences to the bereaved families,” the home minister tweeted.
Officials said additional forces were being rushed to the area where the attack took place.
(With inputs from AFP and PTI)