South Asia

India: Maoist rebels kidnap workers in Bihar

Rebels training in Jharkhand in February 2010
Image caption India's Maoist insurgency began in the late 1960s, in the remote forests of West Bengal state.

Maoist rebels have kidnapped 15 employees and contract workers of a private construction company in India's eastern state of Bihar, police said.

More than 50 armed rebels entered the office of the firm in Jamui district and took away the men to a forest, a senior official said.

A massive rescue operation has been launched in the area for the victims.

Maoist rebels say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribal people and the rural poor.

The Maoists are active in several eastern and central states.

A government offensive against the rebels - widely referred to as Operation Green Hunt - began in late 2009.

It involves 50,000 troops and is taking place across five states - West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

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