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Tribal Separatists Kill 22 in India

Indian security personnel are pictured as villagers look on following an overnight attack by suspected tribal militants on a village in Kokrajhar, India's northeastern state of Assam, on May 2, 2014.
Authorities say tribal separatists have killed 22 people, including women and children, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam.

Police say gunmen opened fire on villagers in three attacks that took place over a 24 hour period. Two attacks took place late Thursday while people slept in their homes.

Police said armed rebels with the banned National Democratic Front of Bodoland opened fire in the Kokrajhar district, killing eight people. Three others were killed in a separate attack in Baksa district.

The latest incident also took place in Baksa district and killed 11 people.

All of the victims were said to be Muslim. Police say nine women and three children are among the dead.

The violence comes amid tight security in Assam as India holds parliamentary elections over a span of five weeks.

Animosity and accusations of land-stealing have long simmered in Assam between members of the ethnic Bodo tribal community and thousands of mostly Bengali Muslim settlers, many of whom came from the former East Pakistan before it became Bangladesh in 1971.

In 2012, ethnic clashes in the same area of Assam killed at least 100 people and displaced more than 400,000 others.

The National Democratic Front of Bodoland is one of several rebel groups in northeast India fighting for a separate homeland.