New Delhi – Suspected Maoist militants killed five policemen in a gunbattle in India’s central state of Chhattisgarh on Thursday, officials said.
The armed rebels attacked a group of policemen near a police camp in the Jharghati forests in Narayanpur district, some 280 kilometres south of state capital Raipur, on Thursday morning.
‘The militants opened indiscriminate gunfire and killed five policemen in the ensuing firefight,’ PC Sahu, a district police officer, said on the telephone.
‘They also used sharp-edged weapons to kill some policemen who were struggling with gunshot wounds.’
Policemen from the camp reached the scene and retaliated but the rebels managed to escape into the nearby forests.
Sahu, who put the number of attackers in the dozens, said the Maoists escaped with the weapons of the dead policemen.
Additional forces were rushed to the region to carry out search operations to track the assailants.
More than one-third of India’s 626 administrative districts are affected by the insurgency.
The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of tribal, landless and poor people in some of the country’s poorest regions.
More than 310 rebels, troops and civilians have been killed in incidents linked to the insurgency since January, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal website.