12 police killed in Maoist attack in eastern India
At least 12 policemen were killed Saturday when their jeep was blown up by a landmine in an area affected by Maoist insurgency in India's eastern state of Jharkhand, dpa reported.
The killings come one day after six policemen were killed in a similar blast in Jharkhand's neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh.
The policemen were on a long-range patrol when the landmine planted by suspected Maoist rebels exploded in the East Singhbhum district, police official Madhusudan Bari told the PTI news agency.
The jeep was completely destroyed and all 12 occupants of the vehicle died at the scene, some 150 kilometres south of state capital in Ranchi, he said.
Senior police officials were planning to launch counterinsurgency operations in the area.
Maoist rebels, who claim to be fighting for the rural poor, tribal people and the landless, operate in 13 of India's 29 states. They usually target police and government installations.
According to independent estimates, more than 400 people among civilians, policemen and rebels have been killed in Maoist violence in India since the beginning of the year.
Indian Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta recently announced that the government would establish six counterinsurgency and jungle warfare training centres for security personnel.