At least 16 police personnel, including five women, were gunned down Thursday evening by Maoist guerrillas in Maharashtra, an official said.
Following a tip-off, the police team had gone after a gang of Maoists in Hattigota forests of Dhanora sub-district in Gadchiroli, around 300 km from Nagpur, deputy superintendent of police Srihari Munde told IANS.
However, the police team was apparently ambushed by the heavily armed Leftist insurgents.
Among the dead police personnel were an inspector and a sub-inspector and five police-women, Munde said.
The incident occurred around 4.30 p.m., sending shockwaves in the state security set-up.
Senior officials, including state Anti-Naxalite Squad (ANS) chief Pankaj Gupta, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pradhan and others rushed to scene of the tragedy.
Munde said extra security forces were being summoned from neighbouring areas.
This is the most brutal Maoist attack in the state and second in the year so far. Earlier, Feb 1, at least 15 security personnel were killed by Maoists in an ambush in the same Dhanora sub-district.