World Bulletin / News Desk
Trucks loaded with women, children, mattresses and bags of rice rolled into a refugee camp in India's northeastern Assam state on Thursday, as security forces tried to stamp out the worst communal violence in a decade with shoot-on-sight orders.
The death toll from clashes between Bodo tribespeople and Muslim settlers rose to 40 overnight, police said, after four more bodies were found. Police also opened fire on groups armed with sticks and spears for violating a curfew.
Fearing for their lives, tens of thousands of Muslims and Bodos have fled their homes in remote hamlets along the border with Bhutan, and sought shelter in camps in larger towns. Roving armed bands have set ablaze hundreds of tin-roofed homes, many made of hay and clay, in the nearly week-long orgy of violence.
Local officials estimate 150,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. The relief camp in a school in the town of Bijni is just one of nearly 60 hastily set up to cope with the flood of refugees, officials said.
Many of the camps lack food, water and security. Angry refugees surrounded a group of state lawmakers visiting the Bijni camp on Wednesday and demanded they take action.
"Go back, go back," they chanted.
"There is no security at all," complained Habibur Rahman, 45, who fled to the camp earlier this week along with his parents, sister, wife and daughter.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who represents Assam in parliament's upper house, may fly to the area on Saturday, his office said.
Ringed by China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan, India's northeast is home to more than 200 ethnic and tribal groups and has been racked by separatist revolts since India's independence from Britain in 1947.
In recent years, Hindu and Christian tribes have increased violence against settlers from mostly Muslim Bangladesh, which neighbours Assam.
The latest violence erupted days after floods killed more than 100 people and left at least 400,000 homeless in Assam.
Bodos have felt marginalised in their homeland by waves of immigration since the 1950s, accusing the central government of allowing the flow of immigrants to win votes from the settlers.
In 1983, at least 2,000 people, mainly Bangladeshi Muslims, were killed in clashes in central Assam.
The violence of the past week has been concentrated in the Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, situated in a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Bhutan and Bangladesh. Both districts were reported to be quiet overnight after army reinforcements were dispatched to help police and paramilitary forces.
But in recent days the pattern has been for attacks to be carried out under the cover of darkness.
Violence, however, flared in another area, Baska, when police opened fire on a group of Bodos violating the curfew. At least three Bodos were wounded, said L.R. Bishnoi, the top policeman in the state.
In Dhubri district near Kokrajhar a police patrol fired on a group of Muslims, killing at least one, Bishnoi said.
Railway officials said train services between Assam and the rest of India resumed, escorted by "pilot" engines carrying armed guards, after attacks forced a halt earlier this week.
The need for humanitarian aid is rising, particularly in the eastern region of the country
Mob lynching is becoming a serious issue in Nigeria, with many people being killed by what is often described as "jungle justice."
Signaling a possible shift in the peace negotiations, new FARC guerrillas have arrived in Cuba.
Zambia, now seen as a model of African democracy, won independence from the United Kingdom on October 24, 1964.
John Kerry says allegations are "extremely serious."
Kenya and China signed a $3.8-billion deal for the construction of the railway in May
Arrawa Hammad, 14, was shot in the head with live ammunition by an Israeli sniper during clashes in Silwad village
An explosion rocked an army checkpoint in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula, leaving 25 soldiers dead and 20 wounded, a military source said.
Mali's Health Minister Ousmane Kone told state television that the patient in the western town of Kayes was a two-year-old girl who had recently arrived from neighbouring Guinea,
Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic says other European countries are preparing to recognize Palestine as well
European Union calls on Turkey to ‘respect’ the Greek Cypriot administration’s 'sovereign rights’ in waters which it claims as its territory.
A reporter covering fighting between Myanmar's army and Karen rebels said to have been shot dead after arrest
Court extends detentions of three people, while five suspects released
Frelimo, which has ruled Mozambique since its independence in 1975, also maintained its majority in the 250-seat parliament.
"It is not acceptable, it an appalling way to behave," a visibly angry Cameron told a news conference in Brussels
The child died from birdshot injuries after security forces dispersed a pro-Morsi rally in the Al-Matarya district northwest of capital Cairo