India police ambushed by Maoists

A woman Maoist and a security official have been killed in a gun battle in the southern part of the Indian state of Orissa, police officials say.

Three security personnel were seriously injured in the clash, which took place early on Thursday morning in the district of Koraput.

Police chief Deepak Kumar said that the gun battle started when an elite anti-Maoist force was ambushed.

Rebels have recently increased attacks on public facilities in the state.

The Maoists have a presence in more than 223 of India’s 600-odd districts across 20 states, according to the government.

They say that they are fighting for communist rule and the rights of the poor peasants and landless.

More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels’ 20-year fight.

Mr Kumar said that the latest attack happened when troops from the state-trained Special Operations Group (SOG) were attacked by 30 Maoists during a combing operation in the forests of Jogipalur.

Police say that the body of the woman Maoist was found at the scene of the battle when reinforcements reached the scene of the battle and that the rebels are likely to have suffered further casualties.

They also say that the rebels blew up a mobile telephone broadcasting tower in the neighbouring district of Malkangiri on Wednesday night.

The rebels blew up three school buildings and a hospital in the northern district of Sundargarh on Wednesday.

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