April 11, 2009 / 7:45 AM / 10 years ago

Maoist rebels kill 10 policemen in central India

RAIPUR, India, April 11 (Reuters) - Heavily armed Maoists ambushed a security forces patrol in central India on Friday, killing 10 personnel, a police official said, as the rebels step up violence ahead of the general election.

More than 125 Maoists armed with AK-47s fired at a team of central reserve police force patrolling the forested Chintagufa area, about 445 km (275 miles) south of Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh state, said Rahul Sharma, a local superintendent of police.

Eight security personnel were injured in the attack in the restive Bastar region, in which three Maoist rebels were also killed, he said.

"It was an ambush. Ten CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) men, including a deputy commandant, were martyred and eight other personnel received bullet wounds in a three-hour-long gunbattle," Sharma said on Saturday.

Maoist rebels, who say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, have stepped up violence in the state ahead of the general election that gets underway next week. They have ordered people to boycott the polls.

Thousands have been killed in the Maoist insurgency which began in the late 1960s.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the insurgency as one of the gravest threats to India’s internal security. (Reporting by Sujeet Kumar; Editing by Sugita Katyal)





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