Suspected separatist rebels killed at least 12 people, including eight children, after they stormed a remote Indian village Tuesday and set homes ablaze before shooting the victims as they fled, police said.

Authorities said the violence was part of a recent wave of attacks by ethnic Dimasa rebels fighting for a separate homeland in southern Assam state. More than 40 people have died since March.

Senior police official Anurag Tangkha said they suspect that the Dimasa militants, called the Dima Halam Daogah, were behind the latest attack. They are still investigating the incident, he said.

In recent months, the group has moved from targeting symbols of the state, like railway stations and police posts, to attacking civilians — particularly members of other ethnic groups.

Tuesday's victims were members of a Naga tribe who lived in Misidur village in North Cachar district, 220 miles south of Gauhati, the state capital.

The suspected leader of the rebel group, Jewel Garlosa, was arrested earlier this month in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.