March 11 (Bloomberg) -- Maoist rebels in India killed 16 people in an ambush in the central state of Chhattisgarh, the deadliest attack in almost a year in a five-decade-old insurgency.
About 200 heavily-armed guerrillas attacked a contingent of troops with gunfire and landmine blasts, killing 15 security personnel and one civilian today in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, Mukesh Gupta, additional director general of police in the state, said by phone. Three policemen were also injured in the attack, he said.
Gupta said there was initial confusion on the causality figure, which led him to earlier put the death toll at 20.
The massacre took place in the same area where guerrillas last year killed 27 people, including policemen and members of the ruling Congress party. India’s communist insurgents operate across a dozen of 28 states in a swathe of land known as the “Red Corridor,” recruiting locals by telling them the government and companies are exploiting their land.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has made gains against the Maoist rebels after 626 civilians were killed in 2010 attacks on targets such as railways and mines. Civilian deaths from the insurgency fell to less than 200 in the past two years, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal, which keeps a running tally.
The so-called Naxalite movement takes its name from a radical 1967 peasant uprising in a village called Naxalbari in the eastern state of West Bengal. China’s People’s Daily hailed the movement at its inception during the political purges of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, calling it “a peal of spring thunder.”
The insurgents have killed more than 9,500 civilians and security personnel since 1998, according to Home Ministry figures.
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