Maoist rebels kill 22 Indian security forces

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Bijapur

Twenty-two Indian police and paramilitary forces were killed and 30 others wounded in a gunbattle with Maoist rebels in a central Indian state, police said Sunday, in the deadliest ambush of its kind in four years.

Some 2,000 security personnel were on the hunt for a Maoist rebel leader in Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh state on Saturday when they were ambushed, a police officer said.

“So far it is confirmed that 22 security personnel were killed,” Chhattisgarh police’s Additional Director General Ashok Juneja said of the almost three-hour battle in the Maoist rebel stronghold.

The injured personnel were admitted to two government-run hospitals in Bijapur and Chhattisgarh’s capital city Raipur.

More than a dozen others remained missing, he said, adding that an unknown number of Maoists were also killed in the encounter.

Juneja said the rebels looted weapons, ammunition, uniforms and shoes from the security forces who were killed. The death toll could rise further, another senior police officer in Bijapur district said.

The toll was the worst for Indian security forces battling the far-left guerillas since 2017, when 25 police commandos were killed in an attack.

Seventeen police from a commando patrol were killed in an attack by more than 300 armed rebels in Chhattisgarh in March last year.—AFP