At least 10 paramilitary soldiers were killed and seven injured in an attack by Maoist rebels in a forest in Bihar, police said on Tuesday.
Officials said three Maoists were killed in the encounter that took place in Dumari Nala forest area on the border of Gaya and Aurangabad districts, 172km south of Patna, where the CRPF had launched a combing operation.
A team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were trapped after the rebels triggered around 21 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and came under heavy firing on Monday night, police said.
PK Thakur, the director-general of state police, said eight paramilitary soldiers were killed immediately and two of the five wounded died later in a hospital.
The bodies of three dead insurgents were recovered, he said.
The CRPF personnel were conducting anti-rebel operations in the area over the last two days. The CRPF’s director general will visit Gaya on Tuesday to assess the situation.
Maoist rebels, known as India’s biggest internal security threat, operate in 20 states and have thousands of fighters, according to the home ministry.
The Maoists have been fighting for more than three decades in central and eastern India, staging hit-and-run attacks against authorities as they demand a greater share of wealth from the area’s natural resources and more jobs for farmers and the poor.
Major Maoist strikes in Bihar
- June 10, 2012: CRPF trooper killed in a blast triggered by Maoists in a forest area in Gaya
- October 18, 2012: Six CRPF men killed, eight wounded in landmine blasts and gun battle near Barha village in Gaya
- December 3, 2013: Eight policemen killed in Aurangabad district
- July 4, 2014: Deputy commandant HK Jha killed in Lakhari village in Jamui district
- August 10, 2014: Two CRPF men killed, four wounded in landmine blast in Munger
- February 24, 2015: Two CoBRA troopers killed, 10 wounded as Maoits blow up a bus in Gaya district
(with inputs from Ruchir Kumar in Patna and agencies)