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lobsang-gyatsoDharamshala, February 13: Reports indicate that Lobsang Gyatso self immolated at 2.30 pm Tibetan time on 13 February 2012 in Ngaba, eastern Tibet. There is heavy restriction on movement of general public across the region.

The 19 year old Tibetan monk is the 24th Tibetan to self-immolate in protest of the Chinese occupation of Tibet since 2009, and was a practicing monk of the Kirti monastery.

Eyewitnesses claim that, while setting himself ablaze, Lobsang Gyatso shouted words of protest against the repressive Chinese policies in Tibet.

Chinese police forces extinguished Lobsang Gyatso and took him to an undisclosed location. His whereabouts at the time of this report are unknown.

Armed police have been deployed along the main street in Ngaba and

At the scene, two Tibetan youths were also allegedly beaten by Chinese security personnel. One of the youths was able to escape with the help of onlookers, but the other was taken away by Chinese police. He was described as "bleeding profusely from the head and arm."

Since the immolation, local reports have indicated that extra security personnel have been deployed around Ngaba town and that people are being searched.

A British reporter who had snuck into the area claimed that the situation in Ngaba town was similar to conflict zones in Northern Ireland and Iraq. Additionally, he described the weapons that Chinese security forces used as "medieval."

As of late, there has been a drastic increase in self-immolations protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Six immolations have occurred in the last thirteen days to demand the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland.

The Tibetan leadership in exile and rights groups have expressed fear of more self-immolations and bloodshed as many parts of Tibet continue to experience undeclared martial law under Chinese security personnel.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com