India

India Maoist rebels kill 24 CRPF policemen in Chhattisgarh

Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) personnel mount a patrol outside the village of Kothaguda in Bijapur District on July 7, 2012, Image copyright AFP
Image caption A large number of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel are deployed in Chhattisgarh to counter the Maoist rebels (file photo)

Suspected Maoists have killed 24 policemen in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, in one of the biggest attacks by the rebels in recent years.

The officers were guarding road workers in the Sukma district, which has seen a long-running insurgency by Maoists.

The details of the attack are sketchy, but one report said it was carried out by 300 rebels.

The Maoists say they are fighting for communist rule and greater rights for tribal people and the rural poor.

Their insurgency began in the eastern state of West Bengal in the late 1960s, later spreading to more than one-third of India's 600-plus administrative districts.

Profile: India's Maoist rebels

The attack on the personnel of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) began at 13:00 local time on Monday and the clashes went on for a few hours, reports said.

It is not yet known if the Maoists suffered any casualties.

India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh later tweeted about the attack:

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Indian media reports say helicopters have been used to transport the wounded to the nearest medical facility.

Extra security personnel have been now been sent to the location to look for the attackers.

The rebels are active in several eastern and central states of India.

They routinely target Indian security forces. In 2010 they killed 74 policemen in the Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh in one of the most deadly attacks.

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