SRINAGAR, India (AFP) ― A soldier in Indian Kashmir shot dead five of his colleagues Thursday before killing himself, an incident which experts said highlights the stress facing troops in the volatile region bordering Pakistan.
The soldier was on night duty when he opened fire on his colleagues who were reportedly sleeping in their barracks at a military camp, 20 kilometers north of the region‘s main city of Srinagar.
“The soldier ran amok, killing five others before shooting himself dead in the camp in Ganderbal district,” army spokesman Lt. Col. Narinder Nahar Joshi said.
A commission of inquiry was under way to determine what sparked the incident at the camp in Safapora village, including whether the soldier was suffering from stress.
He was a member of a counter-insurgency force called the Rashtriya Rifles posted to the heavily militarized Himalayan region and charged with tracking down suspected militants.
Indian forces have since 1989 been fighting some dozen militant groups seeking independence or the merger of the territory with Pakistan. The fighting has left tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, dead.
Several similar incidents have occurred in the past in the region, including one in 2011 when an Indian soldier killed four of his comrades after an altercation in a camp in Anantnag district.