South Asia

India Maoists release police hostages in Bihar

Family of Abhay Yadav, one of the abducted police officers, in Bihar on 2 September 2010
Image caption The rebels had threatened to kill all the hostages

Police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar say Maoist rebels have released three policemen they were holding hostage for eight days.

Last week, the rebels killed one of the four policemen they had taken hostage in Lakhisarai district.

They took the policemen hostage last Monday after a gunfight in which seven other policemen were killed.

The rebels had threatened to kill all the policemen unless eight Maoist prisoners were released.

Indian security forces have been battling Maoists in several states.

Security challenge

More than 200 security personnel have been killed in the first six months of this year.

"All's well that ends well," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, reacting to the release.

The three policemen - Abhay Prasad Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehshan Khan - were released early Monday, police said.

The body of the fourth hostage, Sub-inspector Tete, was recovered on Friday morning.

The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and the landless.

Last year, the Indian government launched a major offensive against the Maoists in several states. The insurgency is seen as the country's biggest internal security challenge.

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