India Maoists kills seven policemen in Chhattisgarh

Maoist rebels train with guns in Chhattisgarh Image copyright AFP
Image caption India's prime minister has described the Maoists as the country's biggest internal security threat

Seven policemen have been killed by suspected Maoist rebels in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, police say.

They were on their way to provide security to workers building a road in Dantewada district when rebels set off landmines and fired at them.

Two policemen were injured in the attack, senior police officer Mukesh Gupta told BBC Hindi.

Chhattisgarh is a stronghold of the rebels who say they are fighting for the rights of the poor.

The Maoists are active in more than a third of India's 600 districts and control large areas of several states in a "red corridor" stretching from north-east to central India.

The insurgency began in West Bengal state in the late 1960s and has become, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the country's "greatest internal security challenge".

Major military and police offensives in recent years have pushed the rebels back to their forest strongholds and levels of violence have fallen.

But hit-and-run attacks are still common, killing hundreds of people every year.

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