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Five dead in forest fire in India’s Tamil Nadu

Gorkha Post

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TAMIL NADU — At least five of the 40 college students who were trapped in a massive forest fire that broke out in southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Sunday have died.

The students were trapped in a forest fire in the hills above Kurangani, a tourist spot in the Western Ghats of Theni district on Sunday evening, local media reported. The five trekkers died of burn injuries, officials said.

Thirty of them have been rescued and taken to hospital. Search and rescue operations for the other missing trekkers continued overnight. The Indian Air Force, which has been pressed into service for rescue operations, is sending a helicopter to the affected area.

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A fire broke broke out in Kurangini hills in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district when a group, which had 25 women and 3 children, went on a trek organised by the Chennai Trekking Club.

According to preliminary reports, the students were climbing down the hills from Munnar in Kerala to Theni on their own.

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32 dead, 1 missing in Papua attacks, Indonesian police say

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JAYAPURA, INDONESIA- Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.

Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.

Citing reports from several witnesses, Diaz said, eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them. However the eighth managed to escape and remains missing.

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“This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the government,” Diaz told The Associated Press.

Separately, Papua province military spokesman Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said an armed group attacked a military post in Mbua village in the same district late Monday, killing a soldier and injuring another.

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