India police kill 16 Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh state

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 security forces are deployed in Chhattisgarh to counter the Maoist rebels

Police in India say they have killed 16 Maoist rebels in the central state of Chhattisgarh.

DM Awasthi, the chief of the state's anti-Maoist force, told the AFP news agency that the clash took place near Bijapur district.

The region has seen a long-running insurgency by Maoists. The rebels killed 24 troops last month.

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

Profile: India's Maoist rebels

India Maoist rebels kill 24 policemen

Some media reports said the rebels had been killed in two different operations.

The police, however, did not give clear details about the exact timing of the operation.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The rebels are active in several eastern and central states of India.

The violence comes against the backdrop of India's government promising to take strong action against the rebels after last month's attack.

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 Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh in one of their most deadly attacks.

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