Indian wildlife workers kidnapped

Heavily armed men have kidnapped six volunteers from WWF-India who were counting the tiger population at a reserve in India's remote north-east.

The three men and three women, all Indian nationals, were abducted at the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam state, said Anupam Sharma, a WWF-India official.

More than 30 groups in the north-east have been fighting for decades for independence from India or wide autonomy in the region, about 1,000 miles east of New Delhi. The area near the tiger preserve is a stronghold of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, a rebel group opposed to peace talks with the Indian government.

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Mr Sharma said people living near the tiger reserve reported the attack to other WWF-India volunteers working in the area.

He said the volunteers had been taking a census of the reserve's tiger population. The park, which spans into neighbouring Bhutan, has a sizable population of Royal Bengal tig-ers and wild Asiatic elephants.