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Fire in Indian refugee camp kills at least 21

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Sat, 19 Mar 2011 18:17 GMT
Author: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Click For Restrictions.
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GUWAHATI, India, March 19 (Reuters) - At least 21 people in a refugee camp in northeastern India, mostly women and children, died on Saturday after a kitchen fire spread rapidly through huts of bamboo and plastic sheets, a senior police officer said.

The fire destroyed one of six camps in the Kanchanpur area, about 170 km (105 miles) northeast of Tripura state's capital Agartala.

The camps house over 14,000 people from the Reang, or Bru tribes, out of around 40,000 who fled the neighbouring state of Mizoram in October 1997 due to ethnic violence.

Over 100 other refugees sheltered in the camps suffered burns, Nepal Das, a senior police officer in Agartala, said. The injured were moved to local hospitals and the critically wounded were airlifted to the state capital.

The state of Tripura in northeast India, an area rife with ethnic and separatist violence, is surrounded on three sides by Bangladesh and borders the Indian states of Mizoram and Assam. (Reporting by Biswajyoti Das; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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