Officials: Maoist rebels kill at least 70 Indian soldiers

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Officials have reported that Maoist rebels in India killed at least 70 soldiers in Chhattisgarh, a central state in the country.

The ambush was made on security convoys in a dense jungle in the district of Dantewada, a remote area. According to police, about 300 Maoists set off explosives and started shooting at them.

"Seventy-five [people] have been killed, and seven injured," commented Gopal Pillai, the Indian home secretary.

This is the deadliest incident security forces have seen since they recently initiated an offensive against the Maoists; the operation has spread out across several states and includes 50,000 federal paramilitary troops, as well as thousands of policemen.

The violence is still ongoing, according to police official Ashok Dwivedi. "Fighting is still carrying on in the area, and we're having great difficulty getting news from there," he said.

It is the biggest loss of life security forces have suffered since launching the recent offensive against the rebels.

India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram remarked that the convoys had apparently "walked" into a trap set by the Maoists. "Something has gone very wrong. They seem to have walked into a trap set by the [Maoists]. Casualties are quite high," he said.


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