//Seven killed in clashes in India's northeast

Seven killed in clashes in India's northeast

Sat Mar 11, 2006

IMPHAL, India (Reuters) – Seven people, including a civilian caught in crossfire, were killed in gunbattles between rebels and Indian troops in the troubled northeastern state of Manipur on Saturday, police said.

Soldiers attacked a well fortified rebel camp 95 km (60 miles) east of the state capital, Imphal, early Saturday, killing four separatist guerillas in a more than two hour gunbattle.

One civilian was also killed when a stray bullet hit him.

"The militants have been identified and they belonged to the People’s Liberation Army," a police spokesman said.

The People’s Liberation Army is battling for freedom for the landlocked state bordering Myanmar, accusing New Delhi of neglecting the development and welfare of the people.

In a separate encounter, security forces killed two other militants in Imphal.

At least dozen guerrilla groups have been fighting Indian forces in Manipur for more than three decades.

About 50,000 troops have are deployed in the state of almost 2 million people. More than 10,000 have died in the conflict.