x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Indian security forces kill 14 Maoist rebels

It is the highest rebel-death toll in a single incident in the state, and comes amid an intense anti-Maoist campaign in the area over the past month.

BHUBANESWAR // Security forces killed 14 Maoists during a gun battle in eastern India yesterday.

The fighting was the latest in a long conflict in which the rebels have been battling to overthrow the government.

“Fourteen rebels, including one woman cadre, were killed,” said Prakash Mishra, the police director general of Orissa state. “We are awaiting further information.”

It was the highest rebel-death toll in a single incident in the state, and came amid an intense anti-Maoist campaign in the area over the past month.

Mr Mishra said there were no immediate reports of casualties among the security forces.

The Maoists have grown from a ragtag band of ideologues into a potent insurgent force, creating a so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches throughout central and eastern India.

Yesterday’s battle took place in the Padia forest area, about 650 kilometres south-west of Bhubaneswar, capital of the mineral-rich but impoverished Orissa state.

The security forces, acting on a tip-off, were conducting a sweep of the area for rebels when they came across the Maoist camp, police said, adding that authorities now were looking for more insurgents in the area.

Local media reported the rebel group camping in the forest was suspected of being involved in ambushing a political convoy in neighbouring Chhattisgarh state on May 25.

That attack killed 24 people, including 12 local leaders of India’s ruling Congress party.