Suspected communist rebels blew up a vehicle carrying government forces in Jharkhand on Wednesday, killing at least nine people, police said.
The attackers detonated a land mine as the nine were returning after delivering supplies to a police station in Dantewada district, about 315 miles (500 kilometers) south of Raipur, the capital of Jharkhand state, said Amarnath Upadhyaya, a police inspector-general.
Those killed were two paramilitary soldiers, four members of a government-supported armed vigilante group that fights suspected rebels and three civilians, Upadhyaya told The Associated Press.
The rebels escaped after the attack, he said.
The guerrillas, who say they are inspired by Chinese communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.
Over the past few years about 2,000 people, including police, militants and civilians have been killed in the violence.
The rebels are called Naxalites after Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal state where the movement was born in 1967.
Last month, more than three dozen attacks by suspected insurgents killed at least 17 people _ including police, soldiers, election officials and civilians in Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states during the first phase of voting in Indian elections.
The rebels called for a boycott of the elections, and a pamphlet left at one attacked government office described the vote as “a fake exercise.”