NEW DELHI, India (AFP) – Hundreds of mourners breached a curfew on Monday to bury 14 villagers killed by the Indian army following a bungled ambush and clash with an enraged mob.

On Saturday, an elite military commando team in rural northeastern Nagaland state shot and killed six coal miners coming home, assuming they were pursuing militants.

When forces were approached by an enraged throng, another eight individuals were slain, with a soldier being killed and a military vehicle set on fire.

Hundreds of residents took the victims’ coffins to a public field in Mon neighbourhood to pray, despite a 24-hour curfew and internet restrictions imposed following the bloodshed.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio subsequently joined the mourning, slamming the military for the deaths and ordering a probe.

An enraged crowd assaulted and partially set fire to an army station in the area on Sunday, killing at least two demonstrators.

Both died of their wounds in hospital, according to district health officer Lolekhol, who goes by one name. Another ten people were hurt in the confrontations.

On Monday, the morning after a candlelight march for the deaths in the state capital of Kohima, street protests were staged around the state for a second day.

The situation was “tense but under control,” according to a police source.

The miners were slain, according to India’s army, when they set up an ambush after receiving “reliable intelligence” of an armed insurgency force travelling through the region.

Soldiers opened fire on a van transporting the miners, killing six of them instantly and injuring two more.

According to the military, dozens of enraged locals armed with clubs and machetes assaulted the troops, forcing them to open fire in “self-defense.”

It has established a commission of investigation and committed to take measures.

Nagaland and other northeastern Indian provinces, which are connected to the rest of the country by a thin land corridor, have seen decades of ethnic and separatist turmoil.

Hundreds of tribal tribes and tiny guerrilla forces live in the region, demanding everything from more autonomy to independence from India.

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