Suspected Maoist rebels kill seven police in central India

Other News Materials 20 October 2008 17:26 (UTC +04:00)

At least seven police officers were killed Monday in an ambush by suspected Maoist rebels in India's central state of Chhattisgarh, a news report said.

One of the militants was also killed in the shootout, which took place in the Bijapur district, about 550 kilometres south of the state capital, Raipur, officials told the PTI news agency.

The police belonged to a battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and most of the victims died on the scene, reported dpa.

Troops deployed in the area to provide security to road workers retaliated, killing one of the perpetrators, the report said.

Senior CRPF officials said additional forces were rushed to the area, which was cordoned off to launch the counteroffensive.

Maoist militants, who claim to be fighting for the rural poor, operate in 13 of India's 29 states. They usually target police and government installations.

Before Monday, the most recent attack on police forces blamed on the Maoists in Chhattisgarh was on September 29 when four officers were killed policemen during a visit by President Pratibha Patil.

According to independent estimates, more than 400 people - including civilians, police and rebels - have been killed in Maoist violence in India since the beginning of the year.

The Indian government is establishing six jungle warfare and counterinsurgency schools to train security personnel to combat the rebels.