Separatist rebels deny responsibility for attacks on Indian oil, gas pipelines (INDIA)


Four landmines and a grenade were set off in Assam state late Friday, hours after a bomb killed five people and wounded six in Guwahati, police said.


(10.06.2006)

GUWAHATI, India (XFN-ASIA) - Separatist rebels have denied responsibility for five explosions that wounded at least six people and blew up oil and gas pipelines in northeast India.

Four landmines and a grenade were set off in Assam state late Friday, hours after a bomb killed five people and wounded six in Guwahati, police said.

'Two pipelines transporting natural gas and two crude oil pipelines were blown up,' senior police official A Baruah told Agence France-Presse.'Six people were seriously injured when militants threw a grenade at a private residence.'

Police blamed the attacks on the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), a rebel group which has been fighting for an independent homeland since 1979. But the ULFA denied responsibility for any of the blasts.

'Triggering a series of blasts aimed at innocent civilians ahead of the June 22 talks is nothing but attempts by vested interests to derail the peace process,' rebel leader Paresh Baruah said in a statement.

The explosions at the gas installation in Assam sparked a huge blaze.

'The fire leapt at least 80-100 meters .. the damage was extensive,' said a senior official of the state-run Assam Gas Co Ltd whose pipelines were damaged.

Two further explosions blew up two India Oil pipelines.'Some operational work will be hit due the two blasts. We are assessing the extent of damage,' company spokesman Nripen Bharali said.

On Thursday, four explosions left 34 people wounded in three districts of Assam.

'The ULFA is behind all these explosions and we had intelligence about a plan to strike terror (in Assam) for three days beginning Thursday,'Assam's Director General of Police Dipak Narayan Dutt said.

However, ULFA in its statement denying responsibility for the violence expressed its'deepest condolences to the families of those who died.'

ULFA representatives have held two rounds of peace talks with New Delhi since October with the next round expected on June 22.

Since the start of the insurgency, at least 15,000 people have been killed in Assam where half-a-dozen other rebel groups operate with demands ranging from autonomy to outright independence.

Von: 11.06.2006, http://www.forbes.com str-tl/pmc/mtp/swp

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