Asia Pacific

Seven Maoist Rebels Killed by Indian Security Forces

At least seven Maoist insurgents were shot dead by Indian security forces on Tuesday, police told AFP, the latest clash in a decades-long conflict waged in the country’s wild central forests.

The guerrillas were killed in a remote part of the central state of Chhattisgarh, which has been the site of a number of deadly assaults on rebel encampments this year.

Security deployments in the state have been bolstered in the past month with India currently in the middle of a six-week general election.

“Bodies of seven Maoists have been recovered,” Bastar district police inspector-general Sundarraj Pattilingam told AFP.

Two of the cadres killed were women, he said, adding that a large quantity of weapons including automatic firearms had been recovered.

Tuesday’s clash was the third of its kind this month in the state, after the killing of 29 Maoist guerrillas on April 16 and another 13 on April 2.

Around 90 Maoists have been killed in India this year, according to police figures, the vast majority in Chhattisgarh.

The insurgents, who are known as Naxalites and say they are fighting for the rural poor, have carried out guerrilla attacks since 1967.

India has deployed tens of thousands of security personnel to battle Maoist rebels across the insurgent-dominated “Red Corridor,” which stretches across central, southern, and eastern states but has shrunk considerably in size over the past decade.

India has pumped millions of dollars into infrastructure development in remote areas and claimed to have confined the insurgency to 45 districts in 2023, down from 96 in 2010.

The conflict has seen a number of deadly attacks on government forces over the years.

Twenty-two police and paramilitaries were killed in a gun battle with the far-left guerrillas in 2021.

In March 2020, 17 police from a commando patrol were killed in an attack by more than 300 armed rebels in Chhattisgarh.

Sixteen commandos were also killed in the western state of Maharashtra in a bomb attack that was blamed on the Maoists in the lead-up to India’s election in 2019.

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