GAUHATI (India) - POLICE say suspected rebels using automatic weapons have killed at least 18 people in attacks on a bus, a barber shop and migrant worker settlements in north-east India.

Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, a state inspector-general of police, says another five people were wounded in Monday's serial attacks at five places in Assam state in India's insurgency-hit north-east.

He said the attacks appeared to be retaliatory as security forces had killed nearly two dozen militants belonging to a faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland in Assam state in the past few weeks.

Suspected rebels have targeted hundreds of Hindi-speaking migrants who they claim usurp the local population's job opportunities.

18 killed by suspected rebels