In­dian po­lice kill 24 Maoist rebels

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BHUBANESHWAR: In­dian po­lice killed at least 24 Maoist rebels in a re­mote, forested area of the eastern state of Odisha yes­ter­day, po­lice said, one of the heav­i­est ca­su­alty tolls suf­fered by the in­sur­gents in re­cent years. Act­ing on a tip-off, po­lice tracked a group of around 30 Maoists who had gath­ered at a makeshift train­ing camp close to the border with Andhra Pradesh state, of­fi­cials said. When the of­fi­cers sur­prised the gath­er­ing shortly af­ter mid­night, a gun bat­tle erupted.

“It was a makeshift train­ing camp. Po­lice have re­cov­ered 24 dead bod­ies of the Maoists dur­ing the search,” Mi­trab­hanu Ma­ha­p­a­tra, the chief of po­lice in Malka­n­giri district, where the am­bush oc­curred said. One po­lice of­fi­cer was killed in the gun­fight that fol­lowed and an­other wounded, said Rahul Dev Sharma, su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice in neigh­bor­ing Visakha­p­at­nam.

Maoists launched their in­sur­gency in the 1960s and have been fight­ing from their jun­gle hide­outs ever since. The rebels ac­cuse the In­dian state of plun­der­ing the min­eral-rich and un­der­de­vel­oped east and cen­tral re­gions of the coun­try at the ex­pense of the poor and land­less, among whom they re­tain some sup­port. While the level of vi­o­lence has fallen in re­cent years, and the Maoists have lost hun­dreds of fight­ers to de­ser­tions and bat­tles with se­cu­rity forces, the rebels re­main ca­pa­ble of stag­ing reg­u­lar hi­tand-run at­tacks across sev­eral states.

Po­lice said yes­ter­day’s gath­er­ing in­cluded se­nior rebel lead­ers, but said they could not con­firm if they were among the dead un­til all the bod­ies had been iden­ti­fied. The Maoists had not yet is­sued a state­ment on the in­ci­dent via the web­site they have used in the past. The se­cu­rity forces seized au­to­matic ri­fles and am­mu­ni­tion from the area, a strong­hold of the in­sur­gents, po­lice said. Ac­cord­ing to the South Asia Ter­ror­ism Por­tal, 337 peo­ple have been killed in left-wing ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence so far this year, more than half of them al­leged in­sur­gents. In July, Maoists killed at least 10 mem­bers of an elite In­dian po­lice force in the south of Bi­har state. — Reuters

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