Indian forces kill 10 Maoist rebels in raid on training camp

February 7, 2019 GMT

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s security forces on Thursday killed at least 10 Maoist rebels during an attack on their training camp in a forested area in central India, police said.

An exchange of gunfire with the insurgents lasted nearly 2 ½ hours in Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh state, a rebel stronghold, said police officer Mohit Garg.

Police retrieved 12 rifles from those killed, Gang said, adding that security forces did not suffer any casualties in the attack on the camp close to a river bank.

The Maoist rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting the Indian government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers, the poor and indigenous communities.

The government has called the rebels India’s biggest internal security threat. With thousands of fighters, the rebels control vast swathes of territory.

Government forces have intensified attacks on rebel hideouts and met with some successes in the past year.

In July, security forces killed eight insurgents, including four women, in a firefight also in Chhattisgarh state. In May, authorities said Indian security forces killed at least 44 rebels in multiple raids in western India.

The rebels, also known as Naxalites, have ambushed police, destroyed government offices and abducted officials. They have blown up train tracks, attacked prisons to free their comrades and stolen weapons from police and paramilitary warehouses.