Ethnic clashes between the Karbis and the Rengma Nagas on the Assam-Nagaland border have led to the death of 20 people since the last week of December and also displaced many people from their villages.
574 people , from 12 villages in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, have taken shelter at the Koilamati Government School since December 25. They say they were driven to this camp out of fear and desperation, with repeated clashes between militant groups of the Karbi and Rengma Naga tribes, the predominant tribes on the district, over the last few months snowballing into a serious conflict December onwards.
The government and private NGOs have arranged for ration and doctors, and paramilitary forces are providing security.
“The fight is between extremist organisations on both sides and the people are suffering,” Lawrence Teron, Convener of the Koilamati camp, said.
At the Chokihola Relief Camp, a few km away, Lison Rongphar , wife and two young kids came here from their village 10 km up in the hills , just a day after seven people were killed in a shootout between Karbi and Naga militant organisation very close to their village on December 27.
Mr Rongpar’s biggest worry is that he does not have enough warm clothes for his children as he came in a rush.
Government estimates say about 2000 people have taken shelter in nine relief camps but unofficially the number could be much more.
And just a few km from Chokihola , evidence of the destruction on the ground can be found at a burnt down Naga village.
The challenge before both the Assam and the Nagaland governments will be to ensure that people are given enough confidence and security so that they come back here to start rebuilding their lives.