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Maoist rebels kill 17 policemen in ambush - senior officer

BHUBANESHWAR, India (Reuters) - Hundreds of Maoist rebels killed 17 policemen in an ambush on a patrol in Chhattisgarh, a senior police officer said on Sunday, in the deadliest attack reported in the region this year.

The attackers struck in a remote and forested area of Sukma district on Saturday, the inspector general of the state’s police force, P. Sundarraj, said.

“There was a heavy exchange of fire,” he told Reuters

The far-left guerrillas have been fighting in eastern, central and southern forest areas since the 1960s, demanding more rights for the poor and for tribal groups.

Reporting by Jatindra Dash in Bhubaneshwar; Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Andrew Heavens