At least 11 policemen killed by Maoist insurgents in eastern India

Nandini Krishnamoorthy
India Maoist attack

Maoist rebels ambushed paramilitary forces in eastern India's Chhattisgarh state on Saturday, 11 March, killing at least 11 policemen.

The attack on the team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) took place at 9.10am local time (3.40am GMT) in Sukma district, which is one of the worst-Maoist affected districts in the country. It is located about 450km from the state capital, Raipur.

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The policemen were deployed to provide security for road construction in the area when the Maoist rebels "ambushed them", Inspector General of Police Sunder Raj P told Reuters. There are apparently around 100 policemen on duty in the area.

At least four other policemen were injured in the attack, he said.

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According to local media reports, the insurgents looted 10 weapons and radio sets from the slain police personnel in the region.

"The ambush was followed up by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack," a CRPF official in New Delhi said.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condemn the attack and said Home Minister Rajnath Singh would visit Sukma district to take stock of the situation.

Chhattisgarh state Chief Minister Raman Singh too condemned the attack as an act of cowardice.

"Maoists are losing their hold in Bastar and hence they are resorting to such violence. A massive combing operation is being carried out in the area to flush out the Maoists. Our forces are determined and capable of facing the challenge", he added.

Media reports also suggested that two of the Maoists were killed in the counter attack by the police forces.

Maoist rebels have been involved in an armed insurgency against the state for several decades. They control several areas in the north-eastern and central Indian states. The rebels claim to be fighting for the rights of the rural population and tribal groups.

At least 75 policemen were killed in 2010 when Maoist fighters ambushed and killed them by detonating explosives and firing from hilltops in the middle of a thick forest in Chhattisgarh.

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