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May 22, 10:01 AM EDT

Rebels kill 6 Indian soldiers near border with Myanmar

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GAUHATI, India (AP) -- Heavily armed rebels ambushed and killed six Indian paramilitary soldiers, including one officer, on Sunday in the latest attack in India's insurgency-wracked northeastern region bordering Myanmar.

The soldiers were on their way for rescue work after a rain-triggered mudslide hit Chandel district in Manipur state, a police officer said.

The insurgents ambushed and fired at a three-vehicle convoy of paramilitary Assam Rifles soldiers in the forest area, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

All six occupants of the front jeep were killed. The soldiers in the other two vehicles sped away and escaped the attack, the officer said.

The region is infested with active militant groups that operate from both sides of the India-Myanmar border. The attack occurred on the Indian side, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the border.

In June last year, the rebels used rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons to ambush an Indian military convoy, killing 18 soldiers in the same area.

Separatist groups accuse India's government of exploiting the region's rich natural resources while neglecting local development.

Most of the main rebel groups in Manipur state are not engaged in cease-fire talks with the Indian government, unlike those in other remote northeastern states.

The mountainous region, known for its natural beauty, has been battling insurgencies for decades.

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