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Rebel Ambush Kills 27 in E. India

December 6, 1997

GAUHATI, India (AP) _ Security forces recovered the bodies Saturday of 21 passengers of a bus that careened down a gorge after it was attacked by separatist rebels in eastern India. Six other bodies remained lodged in the wreckage.

Seventeen passengers were treated for injuries in Imphal, capital of the eastern state of Manipur, 1,125 miles east of the capital New Delhi.

Police said rebels of the Kuku National Front fired at the bus late Friday with AK-47 rifles and automatic weapons. The vehicle then fell 500 feet down a mountainside, they said.

Nineteen victims were members of a paramilitary force and the eight others were civilians, said H. Jelshyam, a state official.

The Kuku National Front is battling for a homeland for Kuku tribespeople, and since 1992, more than 1,000 people have died in fighting between the rebels and government forces.

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