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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:22 AM

Hundreds of ex-rebels lay down weapons in India

By WASBIR HUSSAIN | Associated Press 36 mins ago

GAUHATI, India (AP) Hundreds of rebels in jungle fatigues lined up to surrender weapons Tuesday as several insurgent groups formally joined a cease-fire with the government in a step toward ending a three-decade insurgency in northeast India.

The 676 fighters who handed over weapons to authorities at a sports stadium in the Assam state capital of Gauhati are members of nine of the more than 20 groups fighting the government in the remote northeastern state.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since 1979 when the insurgents began fighting for greater autonomy for their ethnic communities in Assam. However, over the past two years, the groups have begun to reach cease-fire accords and enter peace talks with the government.

Tuesday's event in Gauhati brought the number of groups in talks to 15 leaving about a half-dozen still fighting.


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