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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 07:02 GMT
Six killed in India rebel attack
Maoist rebel Shakamuri Appa Rao. Photo: Omer Farooq
The rebels say they are being targeted by the police
At least six Indian policemen have been killed in an attack by suspected Maoist rebels in the southern state of Karnataka, officials said.

Five policemen were injured in the attack in a village bordering neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where the rebels have been active for many years.

The rebels withdrew from peace talks with the Andhra Pradesh government last month after clashes with the police.

They have been fighting since 1980 for the creation of a communist state.

The chief of Karnataka police SN Borkar told the BBC that the rebels blew up the school building where the policemen were sleeping at a village in Pavagada, 130km from Karnataka's capital, Bangalore.

There was an armed guard but it appears that the gang stealthily planted explosives. They also used grenades in the attack
SN Borkar, Karnataka police
The policemen had returned from a routine patrol in the border area, he said.

Investigation

"There was an armed guard but it appears that the gang stealthily planted explosives. They also used grenades in the attack," Mr Borikar said.

The attack came five days after a top Maoist leader, Saket Rajan, was killed in what the police described as an "encounter" in Karnataka.

The chief minister of Karnataka Dharam Singh has ordered an investigation into Rajan's killing after human rights activists charged the police with faking the "encounter".

A number of Maoist guerrillas were killed by the police in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh after the peace talks broke down.

Until October last year, the rebels were known as the People's War Group. But at that time they announced a merger with the Maoist Communist Centre to become the CPI (Maoist).

The rebels have been fighting since 1980 for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

The BBC's Habib Beary says that some rebels have been moving to the border areas of Karnataka after the police cracked down on them in Andhra Pradesh.





SEE ALSO:
India Maoists clash with police
20 Jan 05 |  South Asia
India rebels reject arms handover
04 Nov 04 |  South Asia
India Maoists unhappy with talks
19 Oct 04 |  South Asia
State chief's warning to Maoists
18 Oct 04 |  South Asia
Indian state opens Maoist talks
15 Oct 04 |  South Asia
Key Indian Maoist groups unite
08 Oct 04 |  South Asia
Date set for India Maoist talks
05 Oct 04 |  South Asia
India's Maoist revolutionaries
08 Apr 04 |  South Asia


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