NEW DELHI (AP) — Separatist rebels gunned down at least 34 people and wounded a dozen more in India's remote northeast Tuesday in a series of coordinated attacks, police said.
At least 30 tribal settlers were killed in north Assam's Sonitpur district, said S.N. Singh, a top local police officer.
All those killed were Adivasis who largely work in tea gardens in the region.
Four others were shot dead in the western Kokrajhar district.
Singh said the death toll may rise as several of the dozen people in hospital were in critical condition. Many others are missing after they fled their homes during the attack.
Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said rebels of one faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland were behind the massacre.
Adivasis, who migrated to Assam more than 100 years ago, have been targeted by Bodo rebels in the past along with Muslim settlers in the state.
The rebels likely belonged to the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which has been fighting for a separate homeland for ethnic Bodo people for decades. The Bodos are an indigenous tribe in Assam, making up 10 percent of the state's 33 million people.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said via Twitter that the federal government had rushed paramilitary troops to the area.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condemned the violence.
Dozens of rebel groups have been fighting the government and sometimes each other for years in seven states in northeast India. They demand greater regional autonomy or independent homelands for the indigenous groups they represent.
The rebels accuse the federal government of exploiting the region's rich mineral resources but neglecting the local people.
At least 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Assam state alone in the last three decades.
In May, rebels from the same group shot and killed more than 30 Muslim settlers in the region.