GAUHATI, India (AP) – Two bus bombings and a series of other blasts Thursday killed four people and wounded 54 in a surge of violence police blamed on separatist rebels in India’s insurgency-wracked Assam state.

Bombs ripped through a passenger bus and another carrying paramilitary soldiers and their families in separate attacks that killed four and wounded 39. The bus bombings came within hours of each other in the neighboring districts of Kokrajhar and Goalpara in western Assam.

In a third attack, suspected ULFA rebels hurled a grenade at a crowded market in Tangla town near the capital Gauhati, wounding seven civilians, two of them seriously, Inspector General of Police Khagen Sharma said.

Two powerful explosions later rocked the capital city of Gauhati. Police reported no casualties in the first, but eight people including six policemen and a photojournalist were injured in the second blast.

No group claimed responsibility for the string of attacks but Sharma blamed militants of the United Liberation Front of Asom.

Assam’s top elected official, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, said the rebels, who have been fighting security forces since 1979 for a sovereign Assam, are now “waging a war on civilians.”

The first bomb, hidden in luggage, went off when a bus stopped in the town of Gossaigaon to let passengers off, Sharma said.

All the injured were hospitalized and several were in critical condition, he said. Gossaigaon is 155 miles west of Gauhati.

Hours later, another bomb exploded near Satipara village in Goalpara district, blowing up a bus carrying Border Security Force soldiers and their families. The bomb was planted under a culvert. Two soldiers and a child were killed,

Sharma said. The soldiers were traveling with their families on holiday, he said.

Satipara is 125 miles west of Gauhati.

Thursday’s violence followed two other attacks this month.

On Wednesday, suspected rebels exploded a grenade outside a movie theater, wounding eight people in another town in Assam. One of them died of injuries in a hospital Thursday, police said.

On Aug. 15, India’s Independence Day, a blast ripped through the grounds of a local college in Dhemaji, a remote town in Assam, where a parade was being held, killing 15.

Gogoi said although his earlier offer for peace talks with the rebels remains open, the government will “take firm action against the ULFA if it continues to spur violence.”


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